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CTA, union reach agreement on ex-offenders jobs program

Updated: February 13, 2014 9:42AM

A deal has been struck to reinstate a second-chance program that gives employment opportunities to ex-offenders at the Chicago Transit Authority.

The CTA announced the program, which expired Dec. 31, will be fully reinstated with 65 rail-car servicer apprenticeships available.

Apprentices in the program clean and detail CTA rail cars, earning valuable work experience for resumes as they re-enter society.

They will return to the job under a deal struck between the CTA and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308.

More than two dozen protesters — representatives of Congress, the State Legislature, the City Council Black Caucus, churches and community organizations — converged on the Local 308 offices in December to complain about the expiration of the program.

“I’m here today to express my disappointment during this holiday season that Local 308 has decided they are going to play Scrooge this Christmas and eliminate this apprenticeship program that not only provides jobs but provides hope for families,” U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said at the protest.

Local 308 President Robert Kelly said at the time that CTA President Forrest Claypool had cut off all ties of talking to the union.

In a press release Thursday, Kelly said he was pleased the lines of communication have been reopened.

“I believe this is a win-win situation,” Kelly said, “and we can now move forward.”

Claypool said he is “pleased to work with ATU Local 308 to bring back a program that has helped literally hundreds of people in need.”

“This program provides benefits to our transit customers by supplementing the cleaning work of our permanent crews, but also provides a great benefit to our society,” Claypool said.


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