Union: CTA's 2012 Budget “Irresponsible”

CTA budget is banking on work-rule changes the union says aren't a guarantee

The leader of Chicago's transit union on Tuesday called the Chicago Transit Authority board "irresponsible" for its passage of the 2012 operating budget.

The $1.24 billion budget doesn't raise fares or cut service, but the CTA still faces a multi-million deficit. The agency hopes to reduce that red by changing union work rules which CTA President Forrest Claypool has said publicly wastes money.

"If you want to play this game in the media, we can play it," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly. "I think everything he has said we've proven is not accurate at all. There are none of these excessive bathroom breaks or any of this other stuff that he claims."

The contract expires at the end of the year, and the passage of the budget Tuesday is sure to make any talks contentious.

"I think it's irresponsible of the board to pass any budget based on something that they may or may not get," said Kelly.

The budget passed Tuesday includes a 12-year, $454 million contract for new fare-collection kiosks.

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