Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) railcar servicers laid off two years ago will return to work before the holidays, and a program to give ex-offenders and other jobless individuals entry-level job opportunities at the CTA will be extended, under an agreement reached between the agency and its rail union.
ATU Local 308 president Robert Kelly and CTA president Forrest Claypool announced the negotiated agreement, which settles a longstanding union grievance while also protecting the employment initiative, known as the "Rail Car Servicer Apprentice Program" — a priority of the administration.
Individuals participating in the apprentice program include sheltered women who've suffered domestic abuse, ex-offenders who've been convicted of non-violent crime, and individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, among others.
Since its creation in November 2007, nearly 500 individuals have gained employment through the CTA's Rail Car Servicer Apprentice Program, which provides full-time jobs for a nine month period to individuals referred from nine social service agencies. The program was set to end this year.