A year ago, CTA President Forrest Claypool was complaining that rampant absenteeism was a "$40 million nut."
He complained then that work rules were too lenient.
Now, though, he admits he just hadn't read the fine print of the labor contract carefully enough. By getting out the reading glasses, he says, the agency has reduced absenteeism "significantly."
Go back to sometime around last March, when "we finally figured out that we were not consistently applying discipline ... and we were losing grievance cases because of that inconsistency and managers were handling it all differently," he said.
That's where a close reading of the management-union contract came in.
"We finally realized that we had the tools," Claypool said last week at a
meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. "...Once I finally realized that if we just trained all of our managers to handle the cases exactly the same, handle all the cases consistently and enforce the collective action guidelines as written in the collective bargaining agreement it would have an impact. And it has, tremendously."
The CTA also installed some technology, with check-ins that are electronic, so it knows exactly when "people are coming and going."
"We have definitely culled millions of dollars out of absenteeism," Claypool said.
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