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More than 60 workers could lose jobs under CTA reorganization

By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

10:52 AM CDT, September 11, 2013

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More than 60 non-union CTA employees could lose their jobs before Thanksgiving under a staffing reorganization approved Wednesday that is aimed at saving $13 million annually, officials said.

The cutbacks were announced as the CTA wrestles with ways to close a $10 million budget gap before the end of the year.

The CTA board voted to abolish a total of 149 positions, most of them in management and administration, in a move to eliminate redundancies and run a more efficient operation, officials said.

Almost a third of the positions, about 45, are currently vacant, officials said.

The cutbacks are related to the launch this month of the Ventra fare-payment system, said Omar Brown, CTA vice president of human resources. A number of current positions related to money collection are being phased out.

About 40 union members whose jobs are being eliminated will be offered opportunities to switch to different positions, officials said. Thirty-seven of the 40 positions being eliminated are related to the transition to Ventra, officials said.

The approximately 64 non-union employees affected by the downsizing will be paid for 60 days and then let go on Nov. 11, officials said. But efforts will be made to rehire some of those affected into new positions that will be created, Brown said.

About 30 new jobs are being created, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

It was not immediately clear how the changes would save the CTA the $13 million projected.

The CTA payroll includes more than 10,000 union and about 1,000 non-union employees.

The belt-tightening was done as the transit agency grapples to close a $10 million budget deficit. In revenue projections for 2013, CTA finance experts misjudged the impact of increases in the price of all passes in January.

Sales of multi-day passes have been significantly lower than the original estimates as many riders changed how they pay fares and ride the system. CTA ridership is down through August.

The staffing reorganization is the second under CTA president Forrest Claypool. In 2011, after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected, the CTA cut about 200 non-union positions.

 

Jhilkevitch@tribune.com 

Twitter @jhilkevitch