Reporting Jay Levine
CHICAGO (CBS) — The CTA admits it is using hidden cameras to crack down on employees who should be working, but some employees say they are placing the cameras in places they shouldn’t be.
The CTA claims that the cameras are part of an effort to crack down on waste, in this case employees sleeping on the job, and worse.
The video CBS 2 obtained comes from a room inside a CTA facility on the Orange Line near Midway Airport.
In the video, a man in front of the camera appears to be making an adjustment before walking away. The next time he appears, he’s in front of another camera facing the other way, changing the camera angle slightly to show more of the room.
The CTA says it installed cameras both on the Orange Line and at the Lake/Harlem maintenance area on the West Side, in what it calls “maintenance storage rooms.”
A union leader claims members routinely change their clothes in those areas.
Veteran private investigator Perry Myers installs similar cameras all over the place.
“You cannot put any video recording device in a lockeroom a washroom or a changing room,” said Myers.
Clifford Horwitz represents union employees fighting disciplinary action using video from these cameras in what appears to be an office of some sort, with two desks, one on each side of the room, a microwave, refrigerator and lockers.
In that room, the CTA says it shot, “video of employees sleeping, sitting around doing nothing, and in one case viewing inappropriate material on a personal computer,” and used the video evidence to discipline the workers.
Cliff Horwitz understands the CTA’s desire to catch those cheating taxpayers but questions how it’s gone about it.
“It’s hard to believe they would do something so knowingly improper,” said Horwitz.
The CTA spokesman says it never has, never would, put cameras in changing rooms. But the question is: Was a storage also a changing room? And if it was, should the CTA have thought twice before installing hidden cameras?
Union representatives have filed unfair labor practice charges against the CTA, Levine reports Thursday.
At a hearing Friday, the CTA will seek to fire four employees as a result of evidence gathered from those hidden surveillance cameras, CBS 2 has learned.