(New York, New York – November 9, 2011)
Through exploiting federally-mandated work rules, signal department supervisors and employees at New York’s Metro-North Railroad (Metropolitan Transit Authority) helped themselves to nearly a million dollars in overtime pay, which automatically will increase future pension payments to a half dozen employees by $5.5 million.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the abuse in the Wednesday release of an audit of New York commuter passenger carrier Metro-North Railroad. Schedules for signal dept. personnel, who install and maintain train traffic control devices and electronic grade crossing protection paraphernalia, were found to be taking advantage of a federal railroad administration requirement that they be given 10-hour rest periods between shifts.
Although the rules do not apply to supervisors, the audit found them taking the same breaks from regular shifts – for which they must be paid, even though the shifts are covered by other, rested workers – and benefitting from the abusive scheduling practices.
Auditor DiNapoli said that “MTA management has tolerated a manipulation of the system by both supervisors and workers.”
Although the audit looked only at 2010 results, it implied that employees had long felt entitled to the extra money.
One worker allegedly told auditors “I know I have a good gig going on. If I had to name the top five jobs in the country, this would have to be, hands down, number one.”