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Date: 05/13/19 05:34
Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: Lackawanna484

NY Post OPINION

LIRR and its unions should reach an agreement. Anybody who works 70 plus hours a week for a year is a safety risk. In any occupation.

Changing the pension calc to an average of final three years total pay etc could help reduce the incentive.

NY Post https://nypost.com/2019/05/12/what-it-will-take-to-end-the-lirr-overtime-scandals/

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/19 06:02 by Lackawanna484.



Date: 05/13/19 08:36
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: abyler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> NY Post OPINION
>
> LIRR and its unions should reach an agreement.
> Anybody who works 70 plus hours a week for a year
> is a safety risk. In any occupation.

Why?  I've worked that much for years in a row when we were heavy in weekend work and busy.  50+ hours during the regular week, and 24-28 hours over two days on a weekend.  What is the big deal?  Lazy office cubicle dwellers can't imagine others actually having that kind of endurance and drive when they can barely handle a 35 hour week?

> NY Post
> https://nypost.com/2019/05/12/what-it-will-take-to
> -end-the-lirr-overtime-scandals/

"The only thing figured out was that even on matters of fraud or dangerous behavior"

How is it fraud to sign up for overtime made available by management?  Or to be paid penalty pay covered by the work rules?

"LIRR unions should want a probe. Either some workers are stealing, harming their colleagues or they’re working so much that they’re putting safety at risk."

This is a false dichotomy.  The work rules permit and provide the overtime hours, so nobody is stealing unless they are being allowed to clock hours on the job not actually worked.  And many people operate every day on 5 hours or less of sleep without any safety issue.  Which means they spend 19+ hours doing something else while awake, which includes working, driving, exercise, partaking in "risky" leisure activities, and more.

"But fixing the deeper problem means taking away pay and benefits that railroad workers don’t consider fraud or abuse, but an entitlement that comes with the job."

Dammit, why won't these workers work for a lot less money than they have been making?  Why can't we cut their pay like we have for labor in so many other fields?

https://nypost.com/2019/05/05/heres-how-the-lirr-union-contracts-send-overtime-soaring/

"The LIRR racked up $225 million in OT last year,according to the Empire Center — consuming nearly a third of the $740 million in fares Long Island commuters pay. Put another way, without this burden, the average commuter riding from Huntington to Penn Station every day could pay $253, not $363. Insane overtime rules are effectively taking a restaurant meal each month away from harried — and lower-paid — private-sector workers. Fraud needs policing and punishment, but the rules encourage fraud."

See what I mean?  The aggrevied low paid journalist office worker feels that field construction people working overtime is literally somehow stealing from them and depriving them of pleasures like eating out more.  The journalist thinks no one should earn overtime and that magically the same amount of work should be done.

" And 12 paid holidays — including two separate Presidents Day holidays, and Election Day — help start the OT clock early during most months."

God forbid workers get too many paid holidays.  You can hear the resentment dripping from every sentence at the compensation package commanded by the workers.

"If you can’t work in the rain, you’ve got to do more work, past a regular eight hours, when the sun is shining."

That's of course not how it works, just like if you work in an office and the network goes down, you still get paid as if you worked for a whole day.  The author is basically adovcating for management ability to lay off workers for weather day-by-day.  She wants the workforce reduced to being like illegal immigrant labor hired daily in the Home Depot lot.

From my perspective, it seems like this whole tempest in a teapot is non-unionized low-paid office workers in journalism and government suddenly realizing just how much money field construction people make and feeling really aggreived about their life choices.



Date: 05/13/19 09:20
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: knotch8

abyler, at the end of your lengthy piece, you take shots at journalists and government workers.

If you don't understand that journalists work all hours and "in the field," you're as blinkered and wrongheaded as many of your posts make you appear.

Your view of "government workers" is a bit broadsided, as well.  What "government workers" were at the Board meeting on Friday railing about the overtime?  The people I saw pontificating were Board appointees. They were not "government workers."

Of course, when all is said and done, you appear to be a "government worker," as well, since all of these work projects come from the taxpayer-funded government till on a government-run railroad/transit agency property, since no passenger service except Brightline is privately operated and funded.



Date: 05/13/19 09:49
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: Lackawanna484

Hold on a moment, abyler.

There's a big difference between working 72 hours for a week or two or even three.  I'm sure most of us have done it.  I sure have.

But, working 72 hours a week for an entire year is absolutely crazy.



Date: 05/13/19 10:18
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: TAW

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hold on a moment, abyler.
>
> There's a big difference between working 72 hours
> for a week or two or even three.  I'm sure most
> of us have done it.  I sure have.
>
> But, working 72 hours a week for an entire year is
> absolutely crazy.

However...

When BN forced us to do it, it was considered to be good business. Overtime costs much less than hiring a sufficient number of employees to prevent the need for overtime. Yeah, 25 out of 80 of us were out of service simultaneously for mistakes, most caused by working conditions. Of course, it increased overtime, but look at the money the company was saving.

The personal experience was in the dispatchers office in Seattle, but we were managing train and engine crews. Management was doing the same thing to them.

The culprit is not labor, it is management. If the ranting author can't figure that out, she needs to do some of what they used to call research. It wouldn't take much to figure it out. I understand that the research could generate the wrong answer. It happens in consulting all the time.

This article is not journalism. Do not mistake it for such.

TAW



Date: 05/13/19 11:36
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: goneon66

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hold on a moment, abyler.
>
> There's a big difference between working 72 hours
> for a week or two or even three.  I'm sure most
> of us have done it.  I sure have.
>
> But, working 72 hours a week for an entire year is
> absolutely crazy.

i don't know how it is now but during the 90's in southern california it was not unusual for law enforcement to work 60+ hrs per week if you WANTED the o.t.  4 day work weeks allowed 3 days off for working o.t.  

staffing levels were achieved, the city saved $$ on paying less benefits, and a LOT of $$$ was made.  good times...........

66



Date: 05/13/19 11:55
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: rbenko

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > NY Post OPINION
> >
> > LIRR and its unions should reach an agreement.
> > Anybody who works 70 plus hours a week for a
> year
> > is a safety risk. In any occupation.
>
> Why?  I've worked that much for years in a row
> when we were heavy in weekend work and busy.  50+
> hours during the regular week, and 24-28 hours
> over two days on a weekend.  What is the big
> deal?  Lazy office cubicle dwellers can't imagine
> others actually having that kind of endurance and
> drive when they can barely handle a 35 hour week?

The main problem with your logic is that you're getting the facts wrong.  The person in questions racked up 3,800 overtime hours IN A SINGLE YEAR, meaning he's not "just" working 73 hours per week, but he's working 73 hours of overtime per week for 52 weeks!!   So the weeks he supposedly had a "normal" work week, he worked 113 hours, or 16 hours a day for seven days.  And even the weeks he supposedly had vacation, he worked an average of 73 hours.  I don't care who you are, there is NO FREAKING WAY this is humanly possible - especially since this dude didn't have what you derisively describe as a "lazy office cubicle" type job, but a field job, where worker and public safety were at risk.

I do not disparage any person who wants to work hard and make a few extra bucks.  I do have a problem with people blatantly gaming the system for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer.  The NY taxpayer will now be paying this clown probably over $100k more per yer in pension costs than he really (and realisitically) should be entitled to.  And he is just the worst offender - there are and were many more, some actually in jail right now (see the LIRR disability retirement scandal a few years ago).

Is he doing something illegal?  No, unless he was being fraudulent in reporting his hours worked (a high possibility - see above).  However, the system needs to be changed, and that includes management hiring enough workers to actually do the work without having to resort to ridiculous amounts of overtime.  Labor costs are a huge amount of the LIRR's total budget - and unfortunately I get the sense that sometimes (like many govt institutions) the LIRR is run more for the benefit of those who work there than the public it is purported to serve. 



Date: 05/13/19 14:13
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: joemvcnj

"Sparks fly at unnecessary ’emergency’ MTA Board meeting as Cuomo, labor square off"


http://secondavenuesagas.com/2019/05/13/sparks-fly-at-unnecessary-emergency-mta-board-meeting-as-cuomo-labor-square-off/



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/19 14:15 by joemvcnj.



Date: 05/13/19 16:07
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: abyler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hold on a moment, abyler.
>
> There's a big difference between working 72 hours
> for a week or two or even three.  I'm sure most
> of us have done it.  I sure have.
>
> But, working 72 hours a week for an entire year is
> absolutely crazy.

I've done stuff like that for years in a row.  Its not a big deal to me.  Obviously other people feel differently.



Date: 05/13/19 16:09
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: abyler

knotch8 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you don't understand that journalists work all
> hours and "in the field," you're as blinkered and
> wrongheaded as many of your posts make you
> appear.

Journalists are salaried, and don't get overtime.  Hence the bitter tone.

> Of course, when all is said and done, you appear
> to be a "government worker," as well, since all of
> these work projects come from the taxpayer-funded
> government till on a government-run
> railroad/transit agency property, since no
> passenger service except Brightline is privately
> operated and funded.

I'm not employed by a government entity, private sector worker here, thanks.



Date: 05/13/19 16:18
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: abyler

rbenko Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The main problem with your logic is that you're
> getting the facts wrong.  The person in questions
> racked up 3,800 overtime hours IN A SINGLE YEAR,
> meaning he's not "just" working 73 hours per
> week, but he's working 73 hours of overtime per
> week for 52 weeks!!   So the weeks he supposedly
> had a "normal" work week, he worked 113 hours, or
> 16 hours a day for seven days.  And even the
> weeks he supposedly had vacation, he worked an
> average of 73 hours.  I don't care who you are,
> there is NO FREAKING WAY this is humanly possible
> - especially since this dude didn't have what you
> derisively describe as a "lazy office cubicle"
> type job, but a field job, where worker and public
> safety were at risk.

I suspect a significant chunk of that overtime was various forms of penalty pay or time paid not worked which goes back to work rules and the contract.

There are certianly better ways to structure contracts than to permit that much overtime to one person, but that is how it was structured.

> I do not disparage any person who wants to work
> hard and make a few extra bucks.  I do have a
> problem with people blatantly gaming the system
> for personal gain at the expense of the taxpayer.
>  The NY taxpayer will now be paying this clown
> probably over $100k more per yer in pension costs
> than he really (and realisitically) should be
> entitled to.  And he is just the worst offender -
> there are and were many more, some actually in
> jail right now (see the LIRR disability retirement
> scandal a few years ago).

If he didn't work the hours he claimed, he deserves to be prosecuted for fraud.

> Is he doing something illegal?  No, unless he was
> being fraudulent in reporting his hours worked (a
> high possibility - see above).  However, the
> system needs to be changed, and that includes
> management hiring enough workers to actually do
> the work without having to resort to ridiculous
> amounts of overtime.  Labor costs are a huge
> amount of the LIRR's total budget - and
> unfortunately I get the sense that sometimes (like
> many govt institutions) the LIRR is run more for
> the benefit of those who work there than the
> public it is purported to serve. 

I suspect the overtime comes about not because there aren't enough workers, but because workers are assigned to a basic day shift, and night and weekend work is on overtime and overtime can be claimed first by the most senior employees at LIRR.  If you try to make the basic shift nights and weekends, I expect the base rate of pay will need to go up significantly, and then you will ahve to pay big overtime for daytime work.

Are there better ways?  Of course, but it goes back to wanting to use a low rate of pay for the basic rate and assign junior staff to day work.

No one seems to want to approach the problem of the cost of living around NYC vs. finding qualified blue collar technical workers who can afford to live there.  And so here we are.



Date: 05/13/19 16:19
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: Lackawanna484

From the second avenue saga, noted above.  The writer notes that the Governor responded quickly, and maybe rashly, by accusing the rank and file of theft.  While that may play well among beleaguered Long Island riders and taxpayers, it will upset the workforce.  The Governor may intend to play the hero as he brokers a deal yet again, but this isn't a good sign.


The second main problem concerns overtime reform itself. The MTA needs overtime reform. The agency relies too heavily on overtime for too much work, and management doesn’t have a good handle on controlling overtime or rationing it properly. Overtime accounting — which working hours count for OT — often means that weekends, which is when most work needs to happen, count for overtime from the get-go, and thus, a 55-hour weekend work period means overtime pay for every single worker involved in the weekend shifts. Thus, overtime just grows and grows and grows. (For a very deep dive on the need to reform overtime and the roles both management and labor can play in that reform effort, I urge you to read this post published Sunday from [i]The LIRR Today[/i].)



Date: 05/13/19 16:26
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

rbenko Wrote:

>  The NY taxpayer will now be paying this clown probably over $100k more per yer in pension costs than he really (and realisitically) should be entitled to.  


Please specify what laws he's broken and why you feel he's not entitled to it.  



Date: 05/13/19 16:39
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: TAW

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> rbenko Wrote:
>
> >  The NY taxpayer will now be paying this
> clown probably over $100k more per yer in pension
> costs than he really (and realisitically) should
> be entitled to.  
>
> Please specify what laws he's broken and why you
> feel he's not entitled to it.  

Perhaps it is merely part of the increasingly loud chant: Whatever you do is not worth what you are paid. What I do is not paid enough.

TAW



Date: 05/13/19 18:29
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: rbenko

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> rbenko Wrote:
>
> >  The NY taxpayer will now be paying this
> clown probably over $100k more per yer in pension
> costs than he really (and realisitically) should
> be entitled to.  
>
> Please specify what laws he's broken and why you
> feel he's not entitled to it.  

I didn't say he broke the law - please re-read my post.  I said he might have broken the law if he falsified his timesheet, which seems likely given the ridiculous hours logged (of course just my speculation - innocent until proven guilty).  However, that's not the point I'm trying to make here - whether legal or not, he gamed the system in order to greatly increase his yearly pension, at the expense of the NY state taxpayer, and to the overall detriment of the riding public.  Is he the only one to ever do this?  Of course not - I'm sure many people in all kinds of government agencies have done similar if not worse things.  It still doesn't make what he did right.
 



Date: 05/13/19 18:42
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: Lackawanna484

There's a whole lot of grand standing in this process.  Just like there is at the Port Authority, Department of sanitation, NY Police Department, etc.

Cuomo knows that. DeBlasio knows that.  The various "acting" titles at the LIRR, subway, and MTA know that. The union leadership knows that.

LIRR has been badly run for decades, often due to political interference.  The huge disability retirement mess (97% of some job titles went from active duty to permanent disability at retirement and nobody in management noticed) stains their approach to anything else. 



Date: 05/14/19 13:49
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

rbenko Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> whether legal or not, he gamed the system in order to greatly increase his yearly pension, at the expense of the NY state taxpayer . . .


It appears to me that everything he did was legal.  I don't think he "gamed the system."  Someone else set up a certain arrangement, and he exercised the option to go down the path of that arrangement.  If you have a beef with anyone, direct your wrath at the people who originally set up such an arrangement.  Maybe some reforms will eventually close the loopholes.  But I wouldn't blame the front-line worker.  Remember, he put in a helluva lot of hours.   

> and to the overall detriment of the riding public. 

How so?  



Date: 05/15/19 07:19
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: utwazoo

It's not 'gaming the system' to legally take advantage of the rules of said system.  Don't like it?  Change the system.   I see no difference as Trump not paying income taxes for eight out of ten years,  due to huge loss write-offs.  IRS rules allow for such write-offs,  he took them and no taxes were due.  End of story.  Again, if you don't like it,  change the IRS rules.   And gaming a system, whatever that means, is not illegal per se.  It's being smart enough to take advantage of such system.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 08:20 by utwazoo.



Date: 05/15/19 07:19
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: Typhoon

rbenko Wrote:
> he gamed the system


You don't know that.  



Date: 05/15/19 09:18
Re: Opinion: Take on LIRR overtime
Author: rbenko

Typhoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> rbenko Wrote:
> > he gamed the system
>
>
> You don't know that.  

Okay, one last time in this thread:  When I say "gaming the system", I mean taking advantage of the situation presented for his own personal gain at the expense of others (in this case the LIRR customers and taxpayers in general).  In my view he did this, and it is wrong, no matter how you want to justify it.  And I have a very strong suspicion that many of these hours were fraudulently reported - I have no proof, just forming a rational theory based upon the very limited evidence presented.  I accept the fact that my opinions on the matter are not shared by several posters, which is perfectly fine - this is one of the things that makes these forums interesting.

My one parting impression is my utter incredulity of the fact that several of the posters seem to believe that working 3,800 hours of overtime in a year is quite acceptable, within the realm of physical possibility, and that the job he was purportedly doing during those ridiculous amount of overtime hours was done productively and safely.  Again, 3,800 hours boils down to an average of 73 hours of overtime each and every week for 52 weeks.



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