The CTA and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241 announced today that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. Local 241 represents nearly 6,600 CTA employees who work as bus operators, bus repairmen, bus servicers, warehouse and treasury staff and office administrative staff. The prior agreement was for a term from January 1, 1997 through December 31, 1999.
The CTA previously reached agreements with the other 16 bargaining units representing its rail employees and those who belong to craft and trade unions.
?This agreement is good for our employees and good for our customers," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?In all our contract negotiations, the CTA has sought to provide good wage increases in exchange for work rule flexibility that enables the CTA to operate more efficiently. We?re very pleased that the new leadership of Local 241 was willing to work with us to assemble an agreement that rewards the hard work of our employees and recognizes that efficiencies can help us strengthen the CTA organization and improve our ability to deliver on-time, clean, safe and friendly service for our customers."
The tentative agreement includes wage increases, a one-time bonus upon ratification, and major pension and benefit improvements.
Wages will increase by $3.00/hr over the term of the contract. An initial increase of $2.30/hr will be effective July 1, 2003. The remaining $ .70/hr will begin on October 1, 2003. Currently, the top hourly wage is $20.01.
A $5,000 bonus will be provided to full-time bargaining unit employees who are on the payroll on the date of union ratification. This bonus will count toward pension earnings.
Bonuses will be made available to part-time bargaining unit employees too. Part-time bargaining unit employees on the payroll on the date of union ratification will be entitled to a bonus of $1,500.
Consistent with all the other agreements the CTA has reached with its bargaining units, pension benefits will also be enhanced. The multiplier that is used to calculate pension benefits will be increased from 1.85 to 2 for those who retired in 2000. The multiplier will increase to 2.15 for those who retire on or after January 1, 2001. The maximum pension will increase from 62.5 percent to 70 percent of the eligible salary.
The CTA will have increased flexibility in scheduling of work so that employees are properly compensated and work is scheduled in a way that best meets the needs of customers.
A union-management committee established by the agreement will build on an existing cooperative partnership between the parties to discuss items of mutual interest and concern and to jointly develop solutions to problems.
The agreement also settles pending lawsuits and grievances thereby avoiding costly litigation.
"One of the major themes of my campaign was to end the stalemate with management," said Lee Robinson, who was elected President and Business Agent for Local 241 last July. ?I believe we have reached an agreement that will benefit 241's membership. With the $3.00 an hour increase in this package, the substantial bonuses, the major pension improvements, and other benefits, I can recommend this tentative agreement without hesitation. It would be something to be proud of in the best of economic times. It is truly remarkable in the current economic downturn."
?This is a very forward-looking agreement that supports the reinvigoration of transit. The CTA has just celebrated its fifth consecutive year of ridership growth, and this agreement recognizes that the best form of job security is ridership and transit growth," said Kruesi. ?We?re proud of the work of our employees. This agreement ensures that all our employees are properly compensated for the good work that they do and it creates a framework to support future improvements that will benefit our customers."
Union membership is expected to vote on the agreement this month. Once approved, the term of the agreement will be from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2003, and it will remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.
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