A dozen labor unions have agreed to several work-rule concessions in exchange for a five-year contract that ensures no layoffs, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool announced Monday.
The tentative agreement will allow for more flexible schedules, lower overtime costs and "work-sharing" provisions, saving the agency more than $1.5 million a year, Claypool said.
"Obviously we can do a lot more efficient work and a lot less disruptive work if we can do more work on the second and third shift," said Claypool. "The commuters should benefit, but it saves us dollars which in turn allows us to protect and maintain jobs."
The "work-sharing" provisions will allow unions of different trades to work together on various projects, regardless of union jurisdiction, allowing for further flexibility.
Additionally, changes to health care plans is expected to generate $5 million in annual savings, officials said.
The five-year agreement covers more than 1,200 workers in 12 unions but doesn't include CTA bus drivers or motormen. Talks with the two large unions that cover those workers is ongoing but in the "final stages," according to Claypool.
Emanuel has made clear he hopes the agreement with Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Locals 241 and 308 will include similar cost-savings.
"It's all part of a consistent strategy that we have applied throughout the city, whether it's in recycling, tree trimming, here at the CTA and McCormick Place. Building a partnership with labor, finding unnecessary costs that are cost-prohibitive and applying those savings to both more workers, work and a price that taxpayers can afford," he said at a CTA maintenance facility at West 78th Street and South Vincennes Avenue.
ATU 308 President Robert Kelly told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was encouraged by the progress that's been made in talks but said what works for one group may not be well-suited for another.
"I do not base what I get for my members on what another union did," he was quoted as saying.
Javier Perez, head of ATU Local 241 representing bus drivers, could not be reached for comment.