August 14, 2002

The CTA's Operating Engineers, represented by Local 399, are set to receive a generous wage increase, retain quality health care coverage, and collect higher pension benefits, plus a $1,000 lump sum payment under the collective bargaining agreement authorized by the Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting August 7. The new agreement is retroactive from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2003.

?I am very pleased that the CTA was able to work with Local 399 to reach an agreement that satisfies union leaders, Local 399 membership and CTA management. This agreement reflects the philosophy that the CTA has followed in contract negotiations. In return for generous employee wage increases, we ask for work rule flexibility so that we can more efficiently control costs," said CTA President Frank Kruesi.

?By linking more effective use of working time with appropriate periodic wage increases, we are putting the CTA on a solid foundation for meeting the challenges of the 21st Century," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett.

The agreement authorizes four wage increases to the hourly rate of operating engineers totaling $4.50 over the life of the contract: a $1.00 per hour increase effective January 1, 2000; another $ .50 per hour increase effective January 1, 2001; and $1.50 per hour increases July 1, 2002 and July 1, 2003. Each operating engineer also will receive a $1,000 lump sum payment upon ratification.

In addition to wage increases, the contract provides improved pension and health care benefits for the employees which are identical to the health, welfare and retirement provisions negotiated with Local 308, Local 726 and awarded to the Craft Coalition in 2001 and 2002. If employees decide to "opt out" of insurance coverage, the CTA will pay them up to $950 per year once proof of alternate coverage is provided. Pension benefits paid to retirees will increase based on changes in the pension formula.

For the CTA, the agreement offers work rule changes that will allow for more cost efficient operations, such as paying overtime at time and one-half in most instances instead of double time, and reduced vacation allowance.

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