Thursday, December 06, 2007

CTA Union Boss Threatens Work Stoppage

Channel 2 is the only outlet I have seen so far that has this story readily available. Of course this is the result of the continuing stalemate over transit funding in Springfield...

The president of unionized rapid transit workers announced the threat of a job action at a news conference originally convened by Mayor Daley.

"We don't know what type of job action it's going to be at this particular point. And hopefully, hopefully, it won't have to happen," union president Rick Harris said. "We cannot afford to wait. This spring, the health care part of our pension will be completely bankrupt."

Transit workers are also angry because more than 2,000 of them face layoff next month at the CTA alone. While denouncing the prospect of a strike, the system's president tried to sound empathetic.

"We will not tolerate a job action. It is not legal or appropriate. That being said, we are very sympathetic," CTA President Ron Huberman.

"I think it's a bad idea. I just don't see why, in the third-populated city in the U.S. like Chicago, that we have such a problem with public transportation," CTA rider Kevin Tyler said.

Unless state officials act by December 31, contract concessions made by transit workers will expire. They'd save the CTA tens of millions of dollars a year. Union leaders said Wednesday they would not extend that deadline.

Governor Blagojevich and legislative leaders are still negotiating over the telephone and behind closed doors. They say they hope the General Assembly could vote next week on a vast expansion of casino gambling that would include funds for mass transit.
In one of many interviews in light of that story that exposed Governor Blagojevich's work habits one of these men on the streets said that the Governor (or perhaps other leaders downstates) don't know that they're playing with dynamite. If these leaders can't come to an agreement on funding the Chicago Transit Authority, they're going to be messing with the livelihoods of many people who depend on public transportation.

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