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Chicago Transit Workers to Get 9.5% Raise

CHICAGO, Ill.—The Chicago Transit Authority board approved a new contract with Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Locals 241 and 308 Feb. 14 that will increase bus drivers, motormen, and mechanics’ pay by 9.5% by the end of next year. The four-year agreement will give the unions’ about 9,000 members 5% raises retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016, an average of $3,500 in back pay. The deal also freezes workers’ health care contributions—a provision Local 241 President Keith Hill called his “No. 1” objective and a “major feat.” “We just held our guns to it,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Health care is so uncertain in today’s world—and it’s rising. It’s eating up the middle-class paycheck.” In contrast, a contract Mayor Rahm Emanuel negotiated with 34 city unions last month will raise their health-insurance premiums by 1.5% and also hike deductibles. The CTA contract will also extend protection against layoffs from all employees hired before 2008 to those hired before 2010, about 83% of the unionized workforce. A CTA spokesperson said the agreement will provide “budget certainty” that will let the authority “maintain the current level of bus and rail service.” Read more

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