CHICAGO (CBS) – Hundreds of Chicago Transit Authority workers are getting their jobs back after being furloughed for eight months.

The CTA is rehiring nearly half of the 1,000 union workers who were let go in February, agency President Richard Rodriguez said.

So far, the CTA has rehired about 400 of those laid off, including 105 part-time and 225 full-time bus drivers. The rest are train operators and mechanics. All have been rehired to replace workers who are retiring or are leaving the agency for other reasons.

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CTA officials say they expect to rehire about 90 more workers later this month.

In all, CTA laid off 1,057 workers. To date, CTA President Richard Rodriguez said, it has not rehired any of those non- union employees who were pink-slipped.

Rehiring is being done in order of seniority, as specified in union contracts.

Although CTA has a “go-slow” policy for new non-union hires, Rodriguez said it makes no sense to delay the hiring of bus drivers, train operators and mechanics to fill vacancies because the service demands a certain amount of personnel.

He said that the alternative would be working employees overtime at a cost higher than recalling the laid-off workers.

On Wednesday, the CTA passed a budget plan that will not hike fares, nor cut service levels. But the $1.337 billion budget also called for nearly $54 million in “management efficiencies,” which were previously specified to include cuts to more than 70 staff positions.

The staff positions that will be cut do not include any train or bus operators, but do include some management and office positions, the CTA said previously.

Bob Roberts, WBBM Newsradio 780. The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

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