MTA CEO & Chairman Jay H. Walder is obsessed with fixing the MTA’s budget woes. One of his main fights is against what he finds is blatant overtime abuse. Yesterday’s edition of the New York Post had a report from Tom Namako about the agency’s attempt to do just that:
A far-reaching crackdown on union overtime is under way at the cash-strapped MTA, as top brass vowed to tighten wide-scale abuse of sick days, costly double and triple shifts, and pension inflation.
The new policies, which the agency said it can unilaterally impose in 2010 for $22 million in savings, is sure to set the table for hostile talks between management and the strong unions that represent much of the workforce in the near future.
Agency presidents laid out several examples of how union employees use contractual work rules to rack up obscene amounts of overtime — in some instances without even lifting a finger.
“They’re not working,” said LIRR president Helena Williams.
“People aren’t physically working 24 hours” but they’re getting paid for it in some cases under the provisions of thier contract, she said.
Each division will have a task force that will make sure employees aren’t abusing sick days, like using them while traveling for personal reasons in lieu of vacation days. When someone calls out sick, the replacement is generally paid time-and-a-half.
One stunning figure is that one-quarter of the entire New York City Transit workforce — about 35,000 people represented widely by TWU Local 100 — takes more than 15 sick days each year, even though only 12 of them are actually paid.
For example, one subway operator was able to make enough money for a five-day work week by only actually showing up for three days and working overtime — he called out for unpaid sick time the other two days of the week.
Click here for the complete report.
I have to say I do support the MTA in trying to crackdown on blatant overtime & sick time abuse. I just do not want it to turn into a witch hunt in trying to make it seem that legitimate overtime or sick time use should be grouped with any abusing of the system that occurs. Since I grew up around the MTA & still know plenty of people involved within it, I am afraid that the unfair lumping will occur.
Tensions are already high between the MTA & its unions, the last thing the Chairman needs to do is make it any worse. Sit down & negotiate in good faith. If you do, positive things can come from it all for boths ides.
xoxo Transit Blogger