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CTA, workers reach 4-year cost-saving contract deal

Robert Kelly President Amalgamated Transit Uniannounced Monday November 19 2012 tentative agreement betwen UniCTA. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Robert Kelly, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, announced Monday November 19, 2012 a tentative agreement betwen the Union and the CTA. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 21, 2012 6:21AM

The CTA struck a tentative cost-saving labor contract Monday with its largest union.

The deal sent agency numbers crunchers rushing to figure its effect on this year’s budget and any possible future fare increases.

The CTA delayed releasing its 2013 budget last week because an end in contract negotiations seemed in sight. The final budget could be released as early as Tuesday.

Details of the new four-year contract with Amalgamated Transit Union bus and rail workers weren’t immediately available. CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the agreement addresses changes to costly work rules, slows the growth of costs and introduces preventative health-care measures.

Negotiations between the CTA and union officials began in January. Specifics on the deal will be released after the union’s 7,000-plus members vote to ratify the contract.

Rail union President Robert Kelly said the contract does address one unpopular practice in which work days are broken up by several hours of time off in the middle.

“We have preserved jobs, and we’ll be growing,” said Kelly, who joked that after many hours of tense negotiations he suffered weight loss, hair loss and “learned a new four-letter word vocabulary.”

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