The assignment:Â Attached is a press clip from the Chicago Sun-Times on November 5, 2009, with the headline, “Bus driver strike over layoffs an ‘option’.” Also attached is an arbitrators ruling establishing the provisions of the current contract. Do you think the CTA unions should strike over the issue of layoffs? List and explain your reasons.
The class: Transportation Management
I think it is too early to form an opinion on the situation with the facts given. The newspaper article states that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has not yet communicated to the bus operator union what concessions it wants from the members.
However, I have developed a preliminary opinion based on the arbitration agreement and the contract between employer and employee.
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The CTA has an obligation to honor its contract and the binding arbitration agreement (AA). The contract and AA stipulates that the CTA provide specific raises in specific years to all employees in the two unions (Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 208). I believe that for the CTA to continue honoring the terms of this contract, that is, to continue providing raises to the bus operators, then the CTA must reduce its workforce (along with other “balance modification” measures like cutting service and raising fares).
I am not often supporting of unions and I have never been a member of one, I believe the bus operators union will do itself a disservice by striking. It signals to City and State representatives they’re unwilling to continue negotiations with the CTA or a mediator, and that they cannot accept that the CTA, while working hard to increase organization and operational efficiencies, will be unable to pay the salaries of so many “extra” employees because there will be less buses and routes to operate. I shouldn’t have to mention the ill will the CTA’s customers might develop towards the bus operators and the transit agency.
The union must also follow the procedures in their contract that, according to the newspaper article, requires them to submit to binding arbitration. Additionally, this may also harm the union and its members by requiring them to accept a less-than-desirable situation about their jobs.
I found that the Chicago Civic Federation, a non-partisan organization of citizens concerned about the city’s financial well-being, supports the CTA’s plan to reduce service and raise fares, as announced in the CTA’s fiscal year 2010 budget (press release). The Civic Federation calls the cuts and increases a fair approach that balances responsibility on management, union staff, and customers.
I agree with their position that all parties “must make sacrifices.”
In these trying budgetary times, all parties, to garner the most effective support, must ensure they reference only facts so as not to deceive or confuse the public. Facts will also allow the parties to communicate effectively and keep the public’s suspicion at bay. I wrote in the fourth assignment that the CTA should launch a marketing campaign (in order to improve their public image) that seeks to inform the public with simple facts about the agency, the breadth and cost of services it provides, but most importantly describes how it receives funding from Illinois residents through sales and real estate taxes, but also through grants. Additionally, they would discuss the efforts they’ve undertaken in the past few years to increase efficiency in all aspects of the agency.
Lastly, I would like to suggest that the unions spend an equal amount of time, effort and money on persuading elected officials to work on a plan that fixes our regional transit issues and keeps bus operators employed. Transit can be an economic and community development tool when looked at in the context of total transportation management that recognizes the economic detriment of traffic congestion, dangerous streets, pollution, and carbon emissions.
About Steven Can Plan
I started this blog in 2007 as the writing assignment for an introductory urban planning class at UIC. It's about cities (mainly Chicago), GIS oftentimes, and transportation (mainly bicycling). Learn more about me, Steven Vance. I also write for Streetsblog Chicago.
Steven Can Plan is hosted on Dreamhost.
Chicago Bike Map App
The Chicago Bike Map app is a bike and street map stored entirely in your iOS device – no data connection required. The map is designed to look much like the City of Chicago's official printed and online bike map. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Highly Recommended Bike Products
So far my longest trip was 40 miles on this saddle. It molds to your butt like Birkenstock sandals mold to your feet. The springs make the bike ride a little more comfortable and more fun (weird, because you bounce up and down on them). It also looks gorgeous. Comes in 3 colors - I got black.
Bells can be quite useful, especially to tell people in front that you're passing them. I like the ding-dong bell the best. It makes a solid DING and then DONG on the spring's return.
The best value taillight. It has three red LEDs that alternate and provide extreme brightness. I have two of these.
Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities (Wiley Series in Sustainable Design) by Jeffrey Tumlin
I was sent a review copy. I'm really excited to open it up and start reading because I've been disappointed with textbooks in the past that don't focus on bicycle and pedestrian planning.
Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi by Steve Inskeep
I reviewed this book that the publisher sent to me.
The Practice of Local Government Planning (Municipal Management Series) by
You could basically design and administer a new town kind of effectively after reading this huge and boring textbook.
Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier PhD, Denis Wood PhD
If you are going to make a map, whether it be hand drawn or digital, you should really give this book a read. Then read it every time you make a map. It will help make sure your maps are laid out sensibly, in a way that others can easily read, and that it doesn't include fluff or unnecessary data.