Agency Also Revises Sick, Vacation Policies; Creates First-Ever Paid Parental Leave Policy
The Chicago Transit Authority today announced the elimination of over 200 positions, part of its continuing efforts to drive efficiencies as it prepares to release its 2012 budget. The agency also revised its sick and vacation policies, moves that will save the financially troubled agency tens of millions of dollars.
The personnel cuts will save the CTA approximately $22 million annually at a time when the agency is facing a $277 million deficit, while the sick and vacation leave policy changes will save the agency an estimated $15 million over the next six years.
“Following Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, we have continued to make the CTA more efficient by eliminating unnecessary and duplicative positions, while creating sound and reasonable sick and vacation leave policies,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said. “As the CTA prepares to close one of its worst budget deficits in recent memory, it is incumbent upon us to find ways to do more with less.”
The 200 positions include the positions that were eliminated in July 2011, and include a mix of layoffs and vacancy eliminations. About two-thirds of the new cuts will come from filled positions. As part of these cuts, a number of senior-level positions have been eliminated, including vice-presidents, general managers and directors.
The CTA now has a lean management structure, with an average of 21 front-line staffers for every manager. In addition, the CTA now has the smallest number of employees in its history, with 25 percent fewer employees than a decade ago.
About 70 percent of the CTA’s budget goes to labor costs, and 91 percent of the labor force is unionized. The CTA’s union contracts expire at the end of the year and are up for renegotiation.
Among the changes to the sick and holiday leave policies are:
- Elimination for non-bargained employees of the floating holiday policy and birthday and anniversary days off. This will end the decades-old practice of granting employees days off on their birthday and employment date anniversary. Instead, employees will be allowed four paid personal days each year compared to the current six floating holidays allowed.
- Non-bargained employees will accrue sick time at a rate of one half (1/2) a day a pay period and will be able to earn up to 13 sick days per year with a maximum accrual of sick time of twenty-six (26) days. This replaces a policy of six-months of sick leave for all non-bargained employees.
- Female employees will be eligible to receive four (4) weeks of fully paid leave after giving birth, while domestic/civil union partners and spouses will be eligible to receive two (2) weeks of fully paid leave after the birth of a child. Adoptive parents will be eligible to receive two (2) weeks of fully paid leave after the birth and/or placement of an adopted child.
- Non-bargained employees will accrue vacation leave on an on-going basis at a rate based on years of service. Non-bargained employees’ vacation allowance will be capped at twenty-five (25) days of vacation compared to the current maximum of 35 days.
- Pay for unused vacation days following separation from the agency will be capped at 25 days after December 31, 2012. Previously, non-bargained employees could be paid for up to 88 days.
- Employees will no longer be able to buy back unused vacation days.
“Amid a deep and continuing recession, these changes will make the CTA more efficient and still provide fair and reasonable policies for our employees,” Claypool said. “I also look forward to working with our labor leaders to find common sense, rational and fair solutions that reduce our labor costs while providing stable employment for their members. It is time for everyone to step up so we can put CTA on solid financial ground.”
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