End of the line for OT
MTA budget cut freezes extra pay for subway workers
The gravy train is out of service for subway workers.
The MTA’s subways department put a freeze on overtime this month through March 31 because of the need for “significant budget savings” through next year, according to an Oct. 1 memo obtained by The News.
But in the memo, subways chief Sally Librera insisted this won’t make subway service worse. She mentions a program for the service delivery division “tailored to ensure train service levels are not impacted.”
Librera also put managers on notice that they’ll still be accountable for keeping up inspections, service and routine maintenance.
“Such work must be planned using straight time,” she wrote.
MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein defended the move.
“Using taxpayer money wisely and efficiently is absolutely essential,” he said. “To be crystal-clear, this directive has no impact on train service or operations; rather, it is specifically tailored to ensure managers are doing their jobs and handling taxpayer-funded resources effectively.”
Transit officials will look for “efficiencies” in the system outside passenger service and “maximize” the amount of work that can be done in a shift. The MTA did not make officials available to discuss the initiative.
Any job where overtime is needed, however, will be considered on a caseby-case basis, the memo said.
But Joe Costales, vice president for rapid transit operations at Transport Workers Union Local 100, did not think much of the directive. He said overtime will be flowing, whether it’s for construction safety flagging or running trains.
“If the train comes in late, it’s that person’s last trip, they’re gonna get paid overtime,” Costales said. “They’re always looking for (train crews) to work overtime . ... They need to get the work done.”
NYC Transit, which also operates buses, expects to spend nearly $585 million in OT this year.
Roughly half of NYC Transit’s overtime will go to scheduled and unscheduled service, costing $282 million. Maintenance was 42%, or $248 million. Weather emergencies, meanwhile, made up 5.3%, or $30 million, of the projected overtime.
But the MTA overall is facing a budget crunch and needs new sources of revenue. Even with fare hikes, it is looking at a $262 million deficit in 2020, with additional deficits totaling more than $1 billion in the following two years.
Workers repair a track switch on the B/D subway tracks in Manhattan.