Chicago, IL – The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is sharpening its knives, ready to come after mechanics, bus and train operators in Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308. According to 308 President and Business Agent Kenneth Franklin, there has been no contract since Dec. 31, 2015. CTA has been pushing for takebacks in every area in negotiations, and according to Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 241, the CTA “has evidenced no intention of reaching a fair agreement voluntarily.”
The CTA wants the unlimited ability to subcontract work and to expand the usage of part-time employees beyond their home garages. They want to eliminate any guarantee of working hours in the contract. In addition to this, CTA is pushing for no wage increases until as late as 2019.
Not satisfied with former CTA chief Forrest Claypool's dumping of Blue Cross Blue Shield in favor of his one-percenter cronies at Cigna, they have also proposed dramatically increasing deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. The vast majority of the members of Locals 241 and 308 are Black, and these contract proposals, called “unreal” by 241, should be seen in context as an attack on oppressed Black communities on Chicago's West and South sides.
To bring the rank-and-file into the struggle, ATU Locals 241 and 308 called for a rally and press conference, Nov. 17, in front of CTA headquarters at 567 W Lake Street. The rally was well attended. Present were Tommy Sams, 241 president and business agent; Carlos Acevedo, 241 financial recording secretary; Kenneth Franklin, 308 president and business agent; and 241 executive board members Erek Slater and Danell Pender-Bey.
In his speech at the rally, Sams said, “We're proud that we make the lives of our hard-working Chicagoans work. We're hard-working too at the same time. We need to let the public know that we've been working without a contract for one year. Let's keep the city moving forward, and let's get a new contract and a fair contract!”