Saturday, December 17, 2005

CTA, What A Class Act

I just received a packet from the American Arbitration Association, informing me that they will be the arbiters for CTA's determination of exactly how much of my union dues should be returned to me as not being directly related to collective bargaining and representation--in other words, how much money CTA spent on politics and other things. Of course, not being a lawyer and not speaking lawyerese, I have no idea what information is contained in this packet or how I'm supposed to use it.

I've been able to determine that there will be some hearings that I can attend in which CTA will present its best case for keeping as much of my money as possible. I've heard war stories about these hearings--how CTA does its best to obfuscate, how only attorneys can understand what they're talking about and how CTA is represented by several staff attorneys while I will not be, how they don't fully open their books, etc. Oh, and CTA pays the arbiters. Think they'll choose (and pay) the same arbiters next year if things don't go their way?

Here are the dates of the arbitration hearings:

January 23-24, 10 am, CTA offices in Burlingame (SF Bay Area)
January 25-26, 30-31, Feb 1-2, 10 am, CTA Community Outreach Center in Los Angeles
February 6-9, 10 am, CTA offices in Burlingame

Do I have to attend all such hearings, all hearings in one location, or just one day of hearings? Any guesses what days of the week these hearings will be held on? (Check your calendars, but don't be surprised). I guess I'm supposed to take "personal necessity time" off of school to drive 3 hrs to be strong-armed by some union attorneys on their own turf.

What a class act. I'm more disgusted than surprised. And if anyone's gone through this or has knowledge of what goes on (EIA, I'm counting on you here!), please leave comments.


Mike Antonucci said...

Hey Darren,

I wrote about the intimate details of a fee-payer arbitration hearing back in my pre-EIA days. I don't have an electronic version, but e-mail a fax number to me (or I can snail mail it) and I'll send a hard copy to you.

If you just want the short version, the cartoon that accompanied the story contained a kangaroo.

By the way, you only have to attend one two-day set of meetings. It's worthwhile only if you would like a huge pile of union documents for your own later use. I absolutely guarantee the CTA calculation of the chargeable/non-chargeable percentages of agency fees will be upheld by the arbitrator. It has been in all but one year (CTA accidentally shredded time cards that year and the arbitrator gave fee-payers almost all their money back).

Darren said...

I figured this was the case. Like I said, they're paying the arbiter.

What a racket.