Matthews v. Chicago Transit Auth.Annotate this Case
After the 2004 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Unions and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) expired, the retiree health care benefits were the subject of an interest arbitration award. That award, which modified the retiree health care benefits, was accepted by the CTA and the Unions. Current and retired employees who had begun work with the CTA before 2001 challenged that award in a putative class action, asserting breach of contract, promissory estoppel, breach of fiduciary duty, and that the arbitration award was unenforceable under article XIII, section 5, of the Illinois Constitution, the “pension protection clause.” The circuit court ruled that the retired CTA employees had standing to challenge the modifications to their retiree health care benefits, but current CTA employees lacked standing, then dismissed for failure to state a claim. The appellate court agreed that current employees lacked standing but held that the retirees had a vested right to receive the health care benefits that were provided in the prior CBA and had stated claims for breach of that contract and for promissory estoppel. The Illinois Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who retired before the effective date of the 2007 CBA had standing; other retirees and current employees lacked standing. Dismissal of the claim for promissory estoppel against the CTA was proper; the complaint stated claims for breach of contract and under the pension protection clause.