To the Editor: Transport Workers Union President Tony Utano was right when he wrote (in the summer issue of Transport Workers Bulletin) that any new contract must keep workers ahead of inflation. The expired contract was the first one in decades that did not put them behind.
Utano also rightly dismisses MTA claims of future deficits and rightly criticizes the corporate-owned media for blindly accepting these claims as fact. Going at least back to the 1990s, management would claim to have a deficit which would magically disappear after the contract was settled.
The difference now is they are no longer claiming to have a current deficit. Now they say they’ll have one next year.
The Aug. 20 Daily News article by Clayton Guse reported Utano rightly calling management’s contract offer “insulting.” Transit workers, which included me before I retired, have this strange notion that if you work more than eight hours in a day, you should get paid time-and-a-half.
Management proposes you should have to work more than 40 hours in a week for this. So if you have a holiday, take a personal or vacation day or become ill and take a sick day, no overtime pay?
Management “data” shows the average worker missed 54 days of work last year. Now if you’ve reached a high enough level of seniority, you get five weeks’ vacation. That’s 25 days. Between holidays and other allotted days off, that’s another ten days.
So if the average worker is out 19 days because of sick time and/or Worker’s Compensation, then management is doing a poor job of looking after the health and safety of its work force.
If management wants to save money, let it stop wasting it.
Another article by the News’s Guse (Sept. 1) shows how they continue to do this.
They spent $2.2 million on a bus-washing station that’s not wide enough for the three-foot power washers that blast crud off the buses.
Their brilliant engineers never bothered to consult the workers who actually do the job before designing it.
I’m 62 years old and retired for over seven years. But the problem with managers not consulting employees who actually do the work goes back to when I was a young man. I’m guessing when one of their engineers asked another if he actually talked to the people who actually clean the buses, Curly answered, “I knew I forgot something.
I’m sorry, Moe.”
Another way to save money is to stop encouraging supervisors and managers to discipline workers on bogus charges. When a good worker is pulled out of service, productivity declines.
Also, since steps one through three of the disciplinary process involve management automatically finding the worker guilty, eliminate this waste of time and money. The money saved by eliminating these rubber-stampers can be spent on hiring more real workers. That would cut back on the overtime management bemoans.
The MTA is long overdue to show appreciation for the employees who actually do the work.
Retired transit worker
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