CHICAGO (WBBM) — The leadership of the union local representing bus drivers and mechanics at the CTA and three Pace garages has been ousted because of financial problems.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) placed Division 241 into receivership Monday.

The local has suffered since CTA and Pace laid off hundreds of drivers and mechanics in 2010 because of financial constraints.

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In a letter to members obtained by WBBM, ATU International President Larry Hanley said local President Darrell Jefferson and his lieutenants had been removed because of their inability to control and account for expenses.

The local faced a Thursday deadline to pay overdue 2010 officers’ and staff pension obligations or face IRS sanctions.

International officials obtained a loan after union members rejected by a 10-to-1 margin a proposal to assess themselves to make the pension payment.  Hanley said International officials will not seek to impose an assessment.

International Vice Presidents Marcellus Barnes and Javier Perez Jr. will serve as trustees until problems are resolved and new elections can be held.

Jefferson had been president since the local emerged from its last receivership, in 2005.  He could not immediately be reached for comment.  

Hanley pledged to establish spending controls and eliminate excessive expenses.

It remains to be seen what effect the change will have on upcoming contract talks.  CTA’s contracts with Division 241 and its other major unions expire Dec. 31, and CTA President Forrest Claypool said Wednesday that he expected to be in contact about contract talks “any day.”  Union members typically continue to work as contract terms are negotiated. 

The local represents drivers and mechanics at CTA and the Pace Evanston, Melrose Park and Oak Lawn garages. 

The move by ATU International officials does not affect Division 308, which represents CTA train operators and maintenance personnel.

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