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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Transit Authority has announced that it is cutting more than more than 100 jobs.
The move comes as the agency seeks to streamline its operations in advance of releasing its 2012 budget.
In total, cuts to more than 200 positions will save the CTA $22 million a year, when the agency’s deficit stands at $277 million. While some of the cuts will come from eliminating vacant positions, about two thirds will involve layoffs, the CTA said.
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The cuts include positions that were eliminated in July, the CTA said. Many senior-level positions are among those that have been eliminated, among them vice presidents, general managers and directors, the CTA said.
The CTA has streamlined its management structure so that there are now 21 frontline staffers for every manager.
The agency’s workforce is now the smallest in its 64-year history, with 25 percent fewer employees than 10 years ago, the CTA said.
In addition to the cuts, the CTA has revised its sick and vacation policies, for a savings of another $15 million per year.
Last month, a Chicago Tribune analysis discovered that rampant employee absenteeism had led to long waits for CTA bus and ‘L’ train passengers. CTA President Forrest Claypool blamed the agency’s union contract and “work rules that are just absurd” for the problem.
While these changes do not affect union work rules, they do change the policy on leave and absence for non-union employees.
“Following Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, we have continued to make the CTA more efficient by eliminating unnecessary and duplicative positions, while creating sound and reasonable sick and vacation leave policies,” Claypool said in a news release. “As the CTA prepares to close one of its worst budget deficits in recent memory, it is incumbent upon us to find ways to do more with less.”
With the changes now taking effect, CTA employees will no longer enjoy some long-standing perks.
Non-union employees will no longer have six floating holidays, and birthdays and anniversary days off, but will instead have four paid personal days. Also, six months of annual six leave will be replaced with a 13 days per year which must be earned at a rate of half a day per pay period. The maximum number of six days to be accrued in a year will be 26.
Vacation will be accrued based on years of service and will be capped at 25 days a year, versus the current 35, and unused vacation days will no longer be bought back, the CTA said.
Also, female employees will be allowed four weeks of maternity leave, while spouses and domestic or civil union partners will get two weeks. Adoptive parents will be eligible for two weeks of leave.
In total, about 70 percent of the CTA budget goes to labor costs, and 91 percent is unionized. The union contracts expire at the end of the year and must be renegotiated, the CTA said.