Thursday, December 06, 2007

Daley tries to pressure Springfield as CTA union threatens sick-in

The Tribune's Clout Street blog has more about the labor situation at the CTA that I blogged about before I went to bed last night...
Even as legislative leaders are hinting a Springfield stalemate could drag into next year, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley called on them Wednesday to remedy the hicago Transit Authority’s financial crisis before year’s end so riders won’t have to live under a cloud of threatened service cuts and fare increases during the holidays.

Meanwhile, a CTA union leader said to get lawmakers’ attention, workers continue to weigh job action that could range from a midday stop of train and bus service to a sick-in.

“We are backed into a corner,” complained Rick Harris,president of the union local that represents CTA rail workers. “We cannot afford to wait until after the first of the year.”

Union employees have agreed to pension and health-care benefit concessions in a new tentative contract in a show of good faith, but the accord will be off the table if the General Assembly fails to provide the transit agency with more funding by Dec. 31.

Daley asserted that “the lack of state funding that has caused the merry-go-round where we go from one doomsday to another needs to end.”

Last week, the Illinois House voted down a measure that would have used gasoline-tax money to fund the CTA, Metra and Pace. Before they will agree to help Chicago area transit riders, many lawmakers want a statewide construction program paid for by an expansion of gambling.

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