Union: CTA plans layoffs

Ben Meyerson

December 04, 2009 @ 1:55 PM

The CTA this evening notified employees that it plans layoffs at the beginning of 2010, the train operators' union said.

The agency issued notices under the federal WARN Act, which requires employers to advise workers 60 days in advance of mass layoffs. In the past, the CTA has sent notices in instances when layoffs were possible, but not definite. 

Union president Robert Kelly says the CTA is planning to lay off by "job classification seniority," which they claim violates a stipulation in the union contract that the last hired employee must be the first employee to be fired during layoffs.

A major sticking point between the unions and the CTA has been the business of how layoffs can be executed.

In an interview earlier today, Kelly said the CTA would waste time and money trying to go around the layoff rules.

"I’ll wait til they go through the court systems and waste money, and when the court says no, you have to lay off with seniority — and seniority means the day you were hired — then they will have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars," Kelly said. "There’s a lot of unions out there watching to see if we give in, and when we don’t, guess what: They’re all going to stand up."

Kelly has previously told the Current that violating the "last hired, first fired" language in the contract could be enough to merit a strike.

When asked about the possibility of a strike tonight after the notifications were sent out, he said in a one-line e-mail, "Not certain, time will tell."

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