ATU Attorney Joe Pass says CTA management is “untrustworthy,” considers additional action
At a news conference Wednesday at ATU Local 241 headquarters, Local 241 attorney Joe Pass stated the union’s intent to file a series of lawsuits against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to be completed by end of this week.
Those filings are now complete.
The lawsuits, which range from a class-action grievance aimed at CTA employee relations, a federal suit for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and a state lawsuit filed in Cook County to enforce 10 contract agreements, the Union claims the CTA has refused to honor and abide.
Pass noted that the CTA could resolve the grievance portion by hiring back at least 50 operators.
In response to CTA spokesperson Noelle Gaffney’s claims that employees signed a workbook to work overtime, and that the Union was “going to court instead violates the terms of the contract,” Pass retorted, “If the current situation was not so serious, Ms. Gaffney’s comments regarding Local 241’s lawsuits would be laughable.
Her suggestion that the Union must use the “grievance” procedure to resolve disputes demonstrates her ignorance to reality at the CTA, as well as the law.”
”If her comments are directed toward the federal lawsuit, certainly the CTA must be aware the law permits any employee denied his or her rights under federal statutes to seek redress in federal court,” Pass continued.
“Furthermore we shall continue to press our cases in the appropriate state and federal jurisdictions and are considering additional actions if the CTA continues on its ways.”
Pass also said CTA management has conspicuously not mentioned the huge union givebacks of recent years.
Local 241 gave back the CTA $1.3 billion, he noted, ranging from relieving CTA of retiree healthcare that they are no longer liable and bond money relief more than two years ago.
Additionally, Pass said, the union’s 2007, 3 percent wage increase went directly to the pension fund and not in the pockets of workers.
Moreover, in 2008, 3 percent of wages went to the retiree health care, and this year 2.3 percent of scheduled pay raises again went to the pension fund to bail out the CTA of their financial calamity.
Darrell Jefferson, president of ATU Local 241 made it clear that “We are not here to hurt the riding public. Some members may call for a possible strike vote as early as Monday, but I will be advising against it.”
With more CTA lay-offs scheduled for Sunday, Jefferson warned. “The longer waits and the longer lines are yet to come.”
Jefferson also reinforced his commitment to work with CTA to help find a permanent funding solution for mass transit in Chicago.
“I will work with CTA to get to any type of positive conclusion, whatever it takes,” Jefferson said.
“I’ll go to the state, to the feds, to Mercury, to Mars, I’ll go there with them if it’s going to bring funding back for mass transit in the city of Chicago. But, if we’re not going to try to get something permanent, I don’t want to be a part of it.”
ATU Local 241 is the voice of working people employed in the transportation industry.
It is the largest local within the ATU in the United States with nearly 11,000 members.
A. C. McLean, 312-341-1733
First Trace Communications