By Sarah Schulte and Laura Podesta, abc7chicago.com
The union representing CTA train operators announced Monday morning that its members have voted overwhelmingly to strike in a preliminary vote.
The union did not say when a strike would take place. The CTA train operators have been on the job without a contract for the last 18 months. The CTA says service will not be affected.
The union representing the workers said the transit authority’s proposals for a new contract don’t include pay raises and cut two vacation days. The CTA said those claims are not true and the union workers here in Chicago are the second-highest paid in the nation.
At a news conference Monday morning, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 called themselves the most disrespected union in the city at a news conference. The union said a third of its members voted, with 98 percent voting in favor of a strike.
At the CTA’s Jefferson Park Station Monday morning, commuters said if and when a strike happens, it will seriously affect their lives.
“Probably lose my job, not being able to get to work. I have to ride the train. I live out south…two trains and a bus,” said commuter Robert Neason.
“A lot of people won’t get to work because this is like the main stop that people use to get to the airport,” said commuter Noor Ahmed.
The CTA released a statement saying, “The union’s contract with the CTA prohibits its members from striking for any reason.
Last month, the CTA and Local 308 submitted this matter to interest arbitration, to allow an independent arbitrator to establish the terms of the last contract. That process is ongoing, and CTA remains open to discussing any issues with the Union.
ATU membership’s pre-strike authorization vote will have no impact on service. If Local 308 proceeds with an illegal strike in the future, CTA will take all actions necessary to maintain service for our customers.”