Tribune: CTA to restart jobs program for ex-offenders

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune / December 19, 2013
 This is certainly great news:
An entry-level CTA jobs program designed to offer a second chance to hard-to-employ individuals is itself getting a second chance, officials announced today.

Reinstating the program, while providing employment for 65 people, might also help lead to cleaner CTA rail cars, which has been a challenge for the CTA this winter.

The CTA reached an agreement with its rail union, represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union, to reinstate the rail car servicer apprentice program, which employs ex-offenders, individuals completing drug-abuse programs, victims of domestic violence and others.

The program was scrapped at the end of 2013 in a dispute between CTA management and ATU Local 308. The rail union's president, Robert Kelly, said he was protecting union jobs by dissolving the apprentice program. He said the CTA was cutting back on jobs that pay full wages and benefits and hiring people in lower-paying positions. The CTA rejected Kelly's contention.

Reinstatement of the rail car servicer program, combined with 200 bus servicer apprenticeships introduced last year, expands the CTA’s apprentice program to 265 total positions, officials said.

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