WEST CHATHAM — A five-year tentative labor deal announced Monday by the Chicago Transit Authority would allow it to invest more in construction projects and maintenance repairs, officials said.
"The agreement allows us flexibility when it comes to construction projects and maintenance of buses and trains," CTA president Forrest Claypool said at a news conference at one of the agency's maintenance facilities at 7801 S. Vincennes Ave.
The savings from the deal with a dozen unions include $750,000 annually from a lower overtime rate paid out to employees and $565,000 from changes in vacation and holiday pay.
Joining Claypool was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who added that improving the city's public transit system helps him recruit more companies to Chicago.
"It is essential that we have world-class infrastructure in Chicago," Emanuel said. "And this agreement allows us to maintain and improve our infrastructure while creating jobs and economic opportunity in our neighborhoods."
Ald. Latasha Thomas, whose 17th Ward includes the bus facility, and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), who chairs the City Council's Transportation Committee, said they hope the savings would also be used to hire more minority contractors for the upcoming Red Line renovation project, which is set to begin in May.
There are nine stations from Cermak Road to 95th Street that make up the Red Line's South Side route, and eight stations are located in neighborhoods largely populated by African-Americans.