To comply with United States and Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Acts, today the Chicago Transit Authority began notifying employees that they may be laid off. Letters of notification were sent to 1,094 employees to comply with a 60-day notification requirement. The majority of the positions are directly related to the proposed service cuts CTA will be forced to make if the General Assembly does not take action to provide additional funding for public transit.
?We have to prepare our employees as well as our customers for the possibility of service cuts and the loss of positions related to those cuts," said CTA President Ron Huberman. ?If we have to implement our contingency plan, the CTA will be forced to raise fares and reduce service, which will lead to layoffs. Both of these actions are harmful to CTA employees as well as our customers. It is not something we want to do but it may be the reality of the situation. Should a funding solution be reached, I will immediately cancel the service reductions and resulting layoffs."
Since his appointment to the CTA, Huberman and Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown have been working to secure a permanent solution to the CTA's structural funding deficit. The CTA has cut $18 million in administrative costs, including 75 administrative jobs, while preserving full service. In addition, it has reached an unprecedented five-year contract with the CTA's 17 labor unions that establishes pension and health care reforms. The contract is contingent upon the passage of legislation.
?The union agreement and cost-cutting measures we have implemented demonstrate that CTA is doing a better job of managing existing resources and working with labor to contain costs," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?But even with these savings and reforms, we still have a critical need for additional funding. Without it, we will be forced to reduce service and, as a result, institute layoffs."
?The ATU is disappointed that the CTA must begin implementation of the budget contingency plan ? it affects our membership directly," said Darrell Jefferson, President and Business Agent of Local 241, Amalgamated Transit Union. ?However, we know that the CTA is doing everything it can to avoid layoffs. We are all waiting for help from the legislature."
?I am pleased with the fact that we came together as a coalition to resolve pension fund issues. I am very pleased with the overall outcome of the efforts of the CTA, RTA, ATU, Coalition Unions and Dennis Gannon, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor," said Rick Harris, President and Business Agent of Local 308, Amalgamated Transit Union. ?I hope the legislature will take all of this into consideration and the funding issues will get resolved."# # #