The CTA has started to eliminate hundreds of outside "L" and
subway guard employees and replace them with its own part-time and full-time
The agency's contract with the 450-plus workers of Securitas Security Services USA and its minority subcontractor, Star Detective & Security Agency, is set to expire in July.
The phase out comes after the CTA and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 reached a deal in December. Under the deal, the agency is to hire 200 full-time customer-service representatives and about 700 new, part-time employees. There hires are expected to be fulfilled by the summer, some 280 have already been placed on the job.
But there is contention as to whether or not the customer-service workers will make the "L" and subways safer.
its contracted security guards, the CTA is not requiring the
customer-service workers to get licensed, trained and screened by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
“When you take away trained security personnel from anything, your risk of illegal activity and criminal activity goes higher,” James Huckabee, vice president of Star Detective, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
And Lynne Glovka, spokeswoman for Securitas, told the newspaper,
“All state of Illinois training requirements are met [20 hours], plus
an eight-hour, site-specific CTA-orientation training and an eight-hour
anti-terrorism course are given.”
But the CTA says the customer-service workers are already trained to do CTA work, so the "L" and subway stations will be more safe. ATU Local 308 President Bob Kelly also said he thinks the move will heighten security.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Chicago Sun-Times
that as part of their seven-day training program, the customer-service
workers will spend one day learning CTA-specific safety, security and
emergency-response procedures and another day on anti-terrorism and
security. The transportation agency has also put in $26 million in high-def camera equipment at train stations, which, according to the Sun-Times report, the CTA did not have back in the late 1990s when they contracted the security guards.
CTA's security guards that that patrol with dogs will continue to be contracted, according to the newspaper.