Fed up with stalled negotiations in Springfield over mass transit funding, members of the CTA’s rail union plan to stage a one-day “job action” that would begin midnight Sunday, union officials said Thursday.
Union members hope that by not reporting to work for one day, effectively shutting down the CTA system, leaders in the General Assembly will finally get serious about reaching an agreement on funding for the CTA, Metra and Pace, Tillery said.
“We’re not trying to do anything to hurt the public. But at the same time, we’re trying to emphasize that we have serious issues that need to be addressed and so far, we do not have the support that we need from the state legislature.” said Calvin Tillery, first vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represent the CTA's rail operators.
The unions have already threatened to walk away from cost-saving concessions on employee pensions and health care if the CTA’s transit funding needs are not met by the end of the year, and the CTA is forced to raise fares, lay of 2,400 employees and cut 81 bus routes beginning Jan. 20.
So far, the General Assembly has been unable to pass a funding bill solely for mass transit because many legislators want it tied to a capital plan for roads, schools and other infrastructure. But top legislative leaders can’t agree on where the capital funds should come from, although the latest proposals being considered involve expanding casino gambling in Illinois.
CTA President Ron Huberman has expressed sympathy for the unions’ plight, but he says that a work stoppage of any kind would be illegal and would “not be tolerated.” Union officials insist that the job action is not a strike.