PAT FOYE: Wants worker availability increased.

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 executive committee Aug. 19 voted unanimously to turn down a Metropolitan Transportation Authority initial contract offer that Local 100 President Tony Utano described as “insulting.”

The existing contract expired May 15.

Management’s offer came as it said it faced a more-than $1-billion-shortfall by 2020, despite a future infusion of a billion dollars in additional revenue from congestion pricing for much of Manhattan that was approved in Albany.


Pressure to Cut Jobs

The agency is also in the midst of a state-mandated reorganization that its management consultant said should feature the elimination of 2,700 jobs for an annual savings of a half-billion dollars.

There is an ongoing public-relations battle between the two sides over who is to blame for a $418 million spike in overtime costs for 2018, a 16-percent rise that was first reported in May by the Empire Policy Center, a conservative think tank.

The union faults the agency, because it hired no more than 800 transit workers for an improvement plan that originally required 2,000 to get the system back to a state of good repair. “When you want to increase service delivery and you want to increase the state of repair of the track and you need 2,000 bodies and you don’t hire them, you know what you do? You pay overtime,” said John Samuelsen, the TWU’s International president and an MTA Board member.

At the July 24 MTA board meeting, Chairman Pat Foye fingered existing union contract provisions that he said over the last 10 years had resulted in the average employee availability “consistently” trending “down to current levels.”

That increasing lack of availability for work “impacts overtime because employees who are out must be backfilled, usually on overtime,” Mr. Foye reasoned.

He said union workers averaged between 198 and 208 days of work, or roughly 40 weeks a year of availability “subtracting vacation days, sick days, holidays, injured on the job.”

Change Overtime Trigger?

Not surprisingly, the MTA offer included a provision that would require Local 100 members to work a full 40 hours before getting overtime, the Daily News reported. Currently, overtime starts after eight hours of a shift.

In addition, the agency wants management to be able to change the contract if average worker availability does not increase by an average of three days per year.

The transit agency also wants to extend a “one-time” exception it negotiated that permitted nonunion contractors to do station- and subway-car cleaning.

Attempts by both MTA Finance Chair Larry Schwartz, a former top aide to Governor Cuomo, and the Governor himself to claim high overtime totals were a product of criminal conduct by some employees produced furious responses from union officials.

Report Faults MTA

At the MTA’s Aug. 16 meeting the TWU got a vindication when Carrie Cohen, the Special Counsel the agency appointed to look into the overtime controversy, in a 57-page analysis faulted MTA  management.

“For years, MTA leadership at all levels has been on notice of management’s failures to address overtime issues but has permitted these failures to persist unabated,” Ms. Cohen wrote. “By not addressing long-recognized overtime issues, MTA leadership has failed in its duty to safeguard the public’s funds and ensure that waste, fraud, and abuse are deterred and prevented.”

We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.


(4) comments

PAPA Cable

MTA wants to find a way to reduce any and benefits that has been gain over the years and put us back on slave labor mentality. While pardoning themselves from all the misspent $ ,bad decisions and unbalance budgets due to over working most of the hourly , disciplining employees for minor infractions and / or exaggerated penalties. Management with the help of the press makes it seem most problems are the workers fault. They ignore all the positive accomplishments for example Transit Cable section from the Bronx was the ONLY dept to complete without a glitch, on time ( sorry with TIME to spare) on the second avenue subway. While contractors were phrased and given a pat on the back to bringing the 2nd Avenue on line over budget with many problems after the fact. TA Cable section civil service union workers aren’t even mentioned for the excellent work they did. Oh not to mention the sandy work by the same section that brought the fiber optic, communications and high tensions back on line. Behind the scenes only the engineers recognized us and requested our services. So ignore us , blame us , humiliate us in the press but the truth is out their up to you to see the truth!!!!


I'm still trying to see how this"availability" thimg is an issue. 52 weeks 5 days a weekis 260. Senior guys get 5 weeks vacation. 235 days left. 10 days for holidays. 225 days left. 12 sick days, 213 left. So at the end of the day theres roughly 3 weeks of time (uncompensated it appears) that folks aren't at work. I cannot afford three weeks off without pay. What am i not seeing?

Barbara Conde

I think they are also including time off for workers compensation incidents which the agency can do a better job to protect the workers which would reduce incidents and return workers to their jobs. I'm sure there are also other measures that can be put into place to provide improved safety of the MTA employees.


I work for NYCT Surface (Buses). Maybe Subways is different. Even with two weeks of OTO, it still leaves a gap. And all of this time off is allowed. It is nothing new. I understand there are situations like death in the family and other emergencies. Larry Schwartz must not understand the agreed upon rules about the organization he is on the board of. That "backfilling" he speaks of is IPO. It's a budgeted expense. 60% used to be customary coverage. (3 out of 5 days) Now IPO is at 30% in my dept. (3 half days out of 5) How much more can be taken away? The work load went up and no one was hired to make up the difference. The whole thing is just mind boggling.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.