Negotiations aimed at reaching agreement on a new
labor contract aren't going smoothly, and it's largely because the bus drivers union is now headed by outsiders, CTA President
The CTA union representing more than 5,000 drivers and bus mechanics, Local 241 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, was placed in the trusteeship of its international union based in Washington last September because of financial and administrative irregularities, union leadership said.
The changeover from local control has complicated and bogged down contract talks that began early this year, Claypool said.
“It's much more difficult,” Claypool said after Wednesday's CTA board meeting. The union leadership has “more to learn because they are coming in from outside. ... I don't think they know the members.”
Javier Perez, an international union vice president who is temporarily leading Local 241, said only he and one other international official are in Chicago.
“The front-line union representatives are for the most part the same as before,” Perez said.
He said CTA officials are “dragging their feet on arbitration.”
The two sides are working with an arbitrator.
Claypool said that unlike Local 241, the leaders of the CTA rail workers union, ATU Local 308, are elected and “have the support of members.”
“It's much easier to work with 308,” he said.
The last contract, which ran through December, is being extended until a new deal is reached.
CTA management is asking for work-rule changes from the bus and rail unions that would save the agency millions of dollars annually.
The CTA is seeking $80 million in union concessions to balance this year's budget and avoid fare increases and service cuts in 2013.