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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Possible Chicago-area strike puts future of Disabled Paratransit services in question

Ability Chicago Info will update this information as available. BUT even if CDT does strike the RTA and Pace would still be required to have Paratransit Service's available, there is some mis-leasing information  stating of a possible strike would shut down paratransit service - when there is a Fixed Route Bus service operating service is required with in 3/4 of a mile of  the bus route, per Federal Regulations.

No update on the meeting of Dec 11 yet, as info becomes available we will post.

My Suburban Life | By NATHAN LURZ | Dec 9, 2014

A teamster union representing about 600 bus drivers, porters, dispatchers and customer service representatives is threatening a strike, putting the rides of seniors and disabled suburban residents in jeopardy.
Teamsters Local 727 is considering a work stoppage in protest of contract negotiations that union spokeswoman Maggie Jenkins said had not been done in good faith.
"It's really on management's shoulders – they are doing some delay tactics and kind of beating around the bush and not wanting to spend a lot of time talking about these things that are very important," she said.

The members the organization represents work for Cook DuPage Transportation (CDT). The company is a contracted organization of the Pace bus services that helps transport people with disabilities and operates within three-quarters of a mile from any fixed bus routes, said Pace Suburban Bus spokesman Patrick Wilmot.

Jenkins said workers voted to join the union in May 2014 and that the teamsters had been engaging in contract negotiations since August. The two sides had been able to come together on most of the cornerstones of the agreement across seven previous meetings, but have stalled on salaries and benefits.

“We’re out there every day. The streets are more dangerous than ever, we’re doing more trips than ever, and the cost of living has gone up,” said driver Jesse Hudson in a teamster news release. “We’re not just asking for someone to fill our pockets, it’s something we feel we deserve.”

Though he did not offer comment at the time, Cook DuPage Transportation spokesman Tim Jans confirmed the two sides are scheduled to meet Dec. 11. The last meeting was Nov. 6, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said she couldn't say if Teamsters Local 727 had any set timeline or ultimatums as far as the timing of a future strike.

"We of course are hopeful – we do not want this to go to a work stoppage," she said. "We will do our part and work with management to get this contract done with something that's fair and all about compromise. That's what negotiations are."


Press Release by  TEAMSTERS LOCAL 727
Dec. 8, 2014
Cook DuPage Transport Puts Paratransit Services at Risk
Company Could Force Work Stoppage in Chicago Area

Paratransit services in Cook and DuPage counties are in danger of being suspended due to a possible work stoppage because of Cook DuPage Transport’s bad faith bargaining for a first contract.

Despite the company’s sky-high profits, CDT management is refusing to bargain over reasonable wage increases and affordable health care for paratransit drivers, porters, dispatchers and customer service representatives seeking their first union contract.
The Chicago-based paratransit company has increasingly seen rising profits over the last two years.

“Our members are integral to the success of the company. Our drivers are the faces of CDT and work with some of our communities’ most vulnerable residents. When customers call, they hear our members on the phone,” said John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727, which represents more than 600 CDT employees. “But the company has shown it does not want to share with our members and only cares about its bottom line by delaying negotiations over well-earned increases. Frankly, the company’s tactics are insulting to the very men and women who are the lifeblood of CDT.”

The Teamster-represented CDT workers transport and facilitate the transport of disabled and elderly passengers throughout the Chicagoland area.

“We’re out there every day. The streets are more dangerous than ever, we’re doing more trips than ever, and the cost of living has gone up,” said CDT driver Jesse Hudson. “We’re not just asking for someone to fill our pockets, it’s something we feel we deserve.”

The union has begun to make preparations for a possible work stoppage over such bargaining tactics. The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for Dec. 11.

“The union deeply regrets the massive inconvenience this could create, but if the company continues to bargain unreasonably, they will have given their employees no other choice,” Coli said.

Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 7,000 hardworking men and women across the Chicago area.

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