The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union and the heads of local unions from several cities joined reverend Jesse Jackson at Rainbow PUSH headquarters.
Last month, the CTA reduced service and laid off 1,100 workers to plug a $95.6 million dollar hole in its budget.
The ATU is calling for a permanent funding solution to avert further cuts and layoffs.
"We feel now we have to take it to the streets...to make our voices heard," said Javier Perez, Jr. ATU International vice president.
The ATU is urging Congress to pass a proposal that would give cities like Chicago more flexibility in using federal transit funds to operate mass transit systems.