Why Overtime and a Trump Comparison Are Fueling Threats of a Subway Strike

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo accused workers of overtime fraud. The transit union’s leader then likened Mr. Cuomo to President Trump.

Comments: 134

  1. Samuelsen doesn’t represent LIRR workers. This is about something else. I suppose Cuomo is playing tough with the TWU contract negotiations.

  2. To log 3,864 hours of overtime in a year, that LIRR worker would have had to put in 15 hours of overtime every day, Monday through Friday, every week of the year. If he worked every day of the year, he could have earned his almost half a million dollars by working only 10.5 hours of OT each day. I believe in unions and bemoan their current weakened state nationally, but how in the world can anyone defend this obvious criminal fraud?? That the transit union chief threatens a strike or slowdown because the governor has hurt the workers' feelings is beyond belief. The plan is to use the proceeds of congestion pricing to funnel millions to the MTA. How can the public possibly trust that agency to use the money wisely in light of stories like this one?

  3. Just got back from Paris where the subways were not perfect but generally clean and reliable. What happened to New York? I am pro union but I also work for a government agency and know that without strict time clock rules and oversight people tend to take advantage.

  4. This is abuse and it is also total mismanagement. Yes, let's have only one employee who knows how to operate the track geometry car. What is notably absent, too, is the fact that Mr. Caputo's last year salary, $325,600, will undoubtebly net him a nice pension, too, since the last few years salary is part of the pension payout formula. And this whole incident makes it crystal clear why cost per mile of track is ridiculously high in New York City as compared with other cities. The system will never improve at this rate.

  5. @Jim why did the LIRR have only one person qualified to operate the geometry car? Why not 4 or 5 people? Who is the management person who decided this?

  6. @nycpat Particularly when that person is about to retire.

  7. Wow, and people complain about finance workers. This one guy made more than every non-executive I came across during my time at one of NY's investment banks. Apparently I picked the wrong line of work. On a side note, can we get a comparison of what the average MTA worker makes relative to his/her equivalent in London, Paris or Tokyo? I am "curious" as to why subway maintenance is such an exorbitant cost and never ending money pit in NYC, with negative short and long term return for its riders.

  8. @Matt - your idea about checking the equivalent salary to transit workers in London, Paris, and Tokyo is an excellent idea: Andy Byford has worked on transit in London, Toronto, and New South Wales, so he has first-hand knowledge. And maybe we will be told, yet again, that the size, age, and capacity of the MTA makes it incomparable, so stop complaining about cost, rotten infrastructure, inefficiencies, and chronic overcrowding and delays.

  9. This is the same LIRR that, a few years ago, it was found that 98% of LIRR employees took early retirement with a disability pension. Imagine that !! 98% off its employees filing for, and receiving, disability benefits. And this had been going on for years. Did these union criminals do jail time for ripping off the taxpayer for millions and millions of dollars? Of course not. They were simply forced to pay back the money they had stolen by claiming phony disability. This overtime farce is a more common theft by union workers than most realize. Run up massive overtime during the last few years before you plan to retire. Not only do you receive massive overtime pay, but for the entire length of their retirement, they will receive drastically inflated pensions that are calculated based on the money they "earned" over the last 3 years before retirement. The fellow in the article claimed to have worked 5,864 hours in a single year. Divide that by 365 days and you get 16.1 hours per day, seven days per week, without a single day off for the entire year. Sure, I believe that. Public-sector unions are criminal organizations dedicated to enriching their members by ripping off the taxpayers.

  10. @jeff - I had heard that a number of workers and their doctors actually were sent to jail.

  11. Thank you governor Cuomo and thank you nytimes for finally talking about the problems with public-sector unions. Getting tough on unions does NOT mean that anyone wants to see those workers in poverty, that's just what they say will happen if we curb their fraud and abuse. Anything can go too far, and public sector unions are surely an example of something gone too far.

  12. @Peter Thank you Governor Cuomo?! He's been governor for 12 years and part of the NYS 'aristocracy' since he was a teenager! He has known full well over all those years about the way union and politicians are complicit in allowing legal 'larceny' by unions with featherbedding rules to run rampant - all at the expense of the taxpayers.

  13. This is why unions are in decline.

  14. @Sarah99 Not public unions. They're a growth sector.

  15. I've seen enough stories in The Times that lead me to the conclusion that the transit system in New York is corrupt. The comparisons between the cost of subway construction in the City and other foreign capitals is there for all to see. One thing Samuelsen is right about is the comparison between "Empty-suit Andy" and Traitor Trump: they both seek to blame others. Indeed, Andy Byford will soon be Cuomo's Obama.

  16. @george eliot Sorry, but this problem began long before Cuomo. It's been going on with NYS pensions forever.

  17. The MTA would really like to see workers work for nothing. It’s ,the way businesses are run, why not the MTA. I’m sick of it. Hire staff, train them and you won’t have to have some people working crazy overtime hours. Cuomo is a bully and has always been. In many ways he’s just like Trump without the Charisma! If the MTA had station masters who were in charge of keeping stations and the staff to do it, track fires and delays would lessen and we wouldn’t need to War gas masks to get to our trains and maybe the elevators would work!

  18. It's a rigged system. the work overtime (unnecessarily) and retire based on those overtime ours. I'm sick and tired of these MTA workers, If and when you see someone cleaning there are actually two other supervisors "watching" them (not) do it. Congestion pricing and mansion tax money - it's all for naught if it goes to pay the princely pensions and overtime for these people. Please tell me how an LIR worker makes $344,000 and our teachers, who went to college and graduate school make well under 6 figures. It's ridiculous. I detest Mr Trump, but Mr. Cuomo should try do do some union busting of his own. As a New Yorker I'm tired of being held hostage by a corrupt union, where they pack the hours of the retiring guys so their pensions with be higher. If that is not fraud, I don't know what it is.

  19. The transit union is overplaying their hand. They have almost no public support anymore. The workers are rude and nasty. Service is bad and expensive. If they strike, the state should pass legislation permanently disbanding them. The scary part is that 3864 hours of overtime plus a standard workweek means the guy had 8 hours a day for everything else. Eating, sleeping, bathing, commuting. In the absence of fraud, how is that possible? And if we actually have someone sleeping only a few hours each day, are they dangerously unproductive or nodding off at work?

  20. These public union workers are ripping off the public and our children, who will be stuck with the bill for their outrageous pensions. I hope Cuomo has the guts to negotiate a new contract that is in the public interest, not the union's interest. If that means a strike, so be it. I hope Cuomo has the guts to hire strikebreakers to break this criminal union if necessary.

  21. @Tony he has caved each time to the unions and gave them huge gains on their last contract negotiation. He goes instead after non represented management to make it look like he’s on top of things.

  22. As many are wondering, how is it possible to work 3684 overtime hours in one year? Has anyone done the math on this?

  23. @Cheryl. That's 74 hrs of OT a week. Assuming his base is 40 regular hours, he's working an average of 16 hours a day, every day of the week. How can anyone do their job safely with so little down time?

  24. If you presume he worked 7 days a week, 50 weeks of the year, it comes to 16.24 hours s day.

  25. @Cheryl assuming those are only the overtime hours would be an additional 10.09h daily every day for 365 days without a single day off. that is on top of his regular work hours. I guess Mr. Caputo is the equivalent of Superman, minus any time for Louis Lane. Who knew - superman worked for LIRR? These people think we are idiots.

  26. Some immediate common sense solutions: Limit the amount of overtime that any one worker can accrue. Limit the amount that overtime pay goes into calculating pensions. Pensions for NY government workers are based on a complicated formula which relies on the number of years worked and the top earning years, so it's hard to calculate exactly but if Mr. Caputo is eligible to retire today, he will have a pension of at least $180K, versus the approximately $70K pension he would get without overtime. So the pension system will pay him a $110K bonus for the rest of his life, money that could've been used to hire and pay for another employee. Overtime pay should be limited to genuine non-supervisory hourly workers. Mr. Caputo's base salary was $117,499. As the "chief" measurement operator, why is he even classified as an overtime-eligible line worker instead of as a supervisor/manager who would not automatically be entitled to time-and-a-half?

  27. @xigxag he is not a civil servant, he is a railroad worker. Different system.

  28. @nycpat since 1989, the LIRR has been covered under an equivalent benefit system as NY State employees, paid for by the state pension system. One difference though is that most NY State workers in addition to their State defined benefit pensions can also claim Social Security benefits upon reaching 62+. However LIRR workers do not get Social Security but instead join the federally funded "US railroad retirement system" which is a supplemental benefit they receive in place of Social Security, but pays better. Again, that's in addition to their normal state pension. If you want to include the Railroad Retirement benefit, that adds an additional $40K or so to Mr. Caputo's annual retirement package. Interestingly enough, NYC Transit subway workers are not eligible for the supplemental Railroad Retirement benefit that LIRR/Metro North/PATH workers get.

  29. @xigxag You've stated the facts. I'd also like to point out that Caputo clocked all this overtime during his last year of employment, which helps boost his pension, because it is calculated based on final average salary (FAS) and years of credited service, multiplied by a fraction which decreases after 25 years of service. He knew exactly what he was doing.

  30. Two years ago, before the Times even started its series of articles about how corrupt the MTA and transit workers were, my local station was, as always, partially closed for construction. There were seven workers; 1 was working, 2 were standing next to him watching, one was holding a meaningless sign by a cone on the closed end of the tracks, and 3 were just standing around talking. I thought it was so ridiculous I took a picture. All of my other experiences with these workers have been the same. Even if they’re being honest about overtime hours, which obviously they aren’t, the only reason they’re needed is because no one is working during regular hours to begin with.

  31. 3864 hours of overtime, plus 50 weeks of regular time at 40 hours/week (2 weeks of vacation) adds up to 5864 hours, or 16.1 hours per calendar day (working 7 days a week, every day, including those 2 weeks of vacation). I don't believe that's possible. This stinks of fraud.

  32. Pull back all curtains.

  33. Systemic overtime abuse by union employees is rampant throughout NYS, NYC, all of their various public authorities and NJ as well. Much of this lies with management having over many, many years allowing featherbedding practices to become entrenched (1 employee to turn the wrench, 1 to hold the toolbox and 2 to supervise). They also continue to practice antiquated work rules that favor the employee over the operations. For example, why should a 24/7 operation like the Transit System have premium pay for nights and weekends? And how does this all continue? Complicit and supine elected officials - Dems and Reps - who are in the pockets of the unions. And let's not forget the worst abusers of these sweetheart work practices - FDNY. The number and magnitude of fires have gone down drastically over the years. Yet NYC is vastly overstaffed in firefighting. And then these 'career' firefighters - who often are working side jobs in construction or other moonlighting - all magically put in 20 years in great shape and then go out on a disability pension. Really?! Firefighting should be like the army - serve for 3-5 years. If you can't re-pass the physical or aren't moving up the hierarchy, your out. There is no reason to be wasting the amount of money we do on pensions and benefits for what should be a young person's job. There are thousand that would love to do it for a short stint and move on with their lives.

  34. @Common Sense While these overtime rates are an abuse of the system, let's not forget that we live in a country where corporate managers earn 500 times more than their average worker and after they run the company into the ground they stll get a 'golden parachute' with millions in severance pay.

  35. @Common Sense So irritating and the double dippers who get a FDNY and NYPD pension. That truly gauls me!

  36. I am pro-Union and want to stand with union workers, but this situation sounds like abuse of the system. The head of the union should not defend this behavior, but rather should investigate corruption. As a teacher, we must fill out an application to be cleared to work more than 500 hours of overtime per year, which amounts to about $25,000. Why in the world isn't there a cap on the number of hours that the MTA, NYPD, or other organization permit?

  37. @sarah unions are getting a horrible rep because of poor leadership. I agree.

  38. Because teaching is historically woman’s work. No need to pay for overtime there.

  39. @Eliza Actually it was historically men's work, at least in the US, and in the 19th century.

  40. There are 8,760 hours in a year. How does someone complete 3,864 hours beyond the average 35 hour week (1,820 if you take no time off). That's 109 hours per week. If nothing else it is dangerous as well as suspicious. It would seem that OT needs to be capped to no more than 10-15% above regular time and should not be part of the calculus for a pension.

  41. Cuomo wants to make the MTA problems about the workers, when the fact is that politics in Albany has been the problem. Sufficient staff properly managed is what's needed, but in Albany it's always a budget battle & lack of consistency in management is the result. Mr. Cuomo, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

  42. No. It doesn’t take multiple managers to review time cards and paychecks. It takes responsible managers in an ethical org chart that yes, does reach up to the politicians in charge.

  43. Thanks to all of the commenters who did the math. Although it is physically possible to work 16 hours per day straight for an entire year, I doubt it. Someone should buy the MTA bursar a calculator.

  44. A common scam that isn't mentioned in the article is to have workers work a lot of overtime right before they retire so their pension is inflated. The solution to that is obvious: base pensions on base pay, rather than including overtime.

  45. The reason why our rail system is in such disrepair is because of the majority of New York taxpayer funds going toward transit worker pay instead of infrastructure, resulting in an unsafe and broken system for the taxpayers who fund it. And by the way, guess who is inching into the top 1% of U.S. income earners? MTA union members.

  46. We understand that there are endemic cost overruns on construction in NY, but these overtime (and overtime-related pension abuses) are another big reason why NYS transit is in the terrible financial shape that it is. At some point, government has to stop asking us to enable this outright theft of the people's money.

  47. Mr. Hill is absolutely right, Plus, worse, as likely happened here, it is also common practice to allow employees who stand in good favor with their bosses to work -and sometimes to schedule for themselves - all the overtime they can eat in the year (or two or three years depending on contract) just before they retire. Then their retirement pay is - outrageously - based upon not their final set salary, but their final earnings in that year(s). So a guy with a 100k salary works 66 hours a week at time and a half OT, makes 200k his last year then retires on "half" pay retirement of 100k annually, which is really double his due. Then you have guys who take it all the way like this one. "Nobody's wife sees them their last year - LOL" These union giveaways are sacred cows but highly unfair to mere mortal taxpayers with 25 thou in a 401k and is bankrupting the state of New York.

  48. It’s overtime charges like this that turn the public against unions. Here’s and easy fix: once you reach 100K no more O.T. allow. Plus base all public pensions on straight time. It’s not like these worker are paid minimum wage.

  49. @Gabel Yeah so while the CEO's of unprofitable companies rake in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, we should definitely cap the amount a hard working union person makes at 100K a year...That makes a lot of sense. I think the outrage expressed after this article just goes to show how twisted our ideas of justice are, about who deserves what. It is an outrage for a working class person to make money, but the "workers" on wall street regularly rake in millions and billions. No one has a problem with that though. Bezos is worth 150 billion, and he has accrued this wealth off of the backs of his workers who don't have a union. But even if they did, they certainly shouldn't make more than 100K a year...

  50. I am shocked, do you hear me, shocked to think that MTA managers may have engaged in fraudulent activities for the purpose of enriching themselves.

  51. That sound of rending fabric is actually the rip in the relationship between Governor Cuomo and TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen. Everything was cozy between the two when Samuelsen endorsed Cuomo for his third term but the governor is now returning the favor by calling MTA overtime earners crooks and thieves. We all know that politics make strange bedfellows but an ungrateful elected official can be quick to pull the covers off and kick his once needed partner out of bed. Observers should note that Cuomo passed on the opportunity to change work rules at MTA Long Island Rail Road in order to gain favor with the union members he is now throwing under the train. I would also suggest that Cuomo knows little of the workings of the LIRR or NYC Transit.

  52. The answer to the O/T question seems to be increased hiring and increased training. Management, not workers, should be held to task for the fact that only one employee was capable of performing the job of chief measurement operator.

  53. This has been a perennial problem.here is a suggestion: have the governor & the union head stop the political grandstanding . Lead by example, model the behavior you want to see. Not that the man boy in DC will notice, but voters will. And empathy for both sides might lead to the start of a resolution.....finally. Save our righteous indignation for the nasty DC Incompetents...and vote them out of office!

  54. While everyone pillories One employee who was specially qualified to run a machine that is in great demand that breaks easily The measuring car was his responsibility, he was an employee who did repairs, diagnostic work, he lived in that car. Somebody figured that he would be working 24/7 to get that salary. That sounds about right. He never went home. I can also assure those concerned that he has met every high official of the MTA personally and the governor High officials use the measuring car to go on tours several times a year. He also worked up and down the East Coast not just on the LIRR and was gone for weeks. Great Examples make lousy cases.

  55. @John...Seriously? No matter how you cut it, this stinks. There is no way rack up that kind of time and actually be working - unless you count every hour as "working". And "did repairs"? Give me a break... The more this kind of thing gets "explained", the worse it looks.

  56. @John Don't be absurd. Everyone has known for years the overtime racket is rampant.

  57. Any union, police, the MTA, it's all based on abusing the system, the disability, the overtime, so much of it fraudulent. Years ago I was fishing offshore with friends of a friend. The conversation switched to how they were all on the clock for Amtrak, buddies punch them in. "Doing it for years" They were proud of it.

  58. Please investigate and if found that they did commit fraud lock them up. The scale of it makes it RICO eligible. It’s time to go after these unions under the RICO Act. What is the state’s AG doing?

  59. The overtime racket is rampant among public employees in New York. The police are some of the most egregious abusers particularly in the last years of service so vast pensions based on final years earnings are paid.

  60. @John Agree 100%. It's long since overdue to look into police overtime abuse. I really wish Cuomo would take up this issue, he would have the public strongly on his side.

  61. Another insidious aspect of this situation is that maintenance workers are required to work in teams for safety reasons. If a worker is not interested in working overtime then he/she is often harassed by other coworkers who want the overtime to ensure that the maintenance team is intact when overtime is offered. This should also be investigated.

  62. Based on these numbers, one employee worked on average 16 hour a day, regular time, plus overtime, seven days a week for an entire year without one day off. Is it possible? According to the MTA it is. But is it really possible in the real world that most of us live in? The answer is only if you literally live on the job site, or if the MTA has sweetheart contracts that when read carefully are designed to let senior staff pad their salaries for the last few years before retirement and qualify for a windfall pension. The LIRR has been notorious for this practice and as a union member I have to say they do a disservice to other union workers who then get attacked because of their greed. A fair contract can never elevate the rights of a few over the interests of the many. It's bad for the union, bad for all workers and the public simply won't stand for it. Solidarity 'yes'. Greed 'no.'

  63. Clearly he could not have worked 17 hours a day if he had to rely on the LIRR to get to work—the constant delays and cancellations would have prevented that.

  64. A few years ago, someone said a new hire at the LIRR was greeted with with a comment “Congratulations, you have just won the LIRR lottery.”

  65. That is over 10 hours overtime per day every day of the 365 days of the year ! Take off commuting time to reach the job's location and you have 4 hours left for all other duties of life, including sleeping, eating, making love to one's wife or husband, showering etc. Oops, forget the "going to the doctor" duties for all LIRR workers who retired early with full pay due to "work accidents" a few years' back - for all who remember that scandal.

  66. I see many comments questioning if it is even possible to work the number of overtime hours; I believe it is. Remember he probably got 5 weeks of vacation, plus holidays and personal days. If he worked all or most of those days (all overtime), it was probably quite a bit less than the estimated 16 hours per day. None of us knows if this is a case of fraud or mismanagement. But asuming the union is right and he was not cheating, they and the employee have every reason to be furious at being accused of cheating. If in fact he was working all this time because he was needed, the worker should be commended not condemned. The management, and the politicians who may have given sweet deals in exchange for endorsement, should be condemned. If it turns out he was cheating, the employee should of course be punished. But let’s find out first.

  67. @Phil: according to the article he worked 3864 hours of overtime. Add to this the normal 2080 hours in a work year equals 5944 total working hours. There are 8760 total hours in a work year, which means Caputo worked 67.8% of the year. 67.8% of 24 equals 16.2 hours per day. If he did not work his 5 weeks of vacation and holidays, the number of hours per day he worked is even higher

  68. So no replacement could be found for less than 344k?

  69. @Phil If he took 5 weeks of vacation then the number of hours he worked each week is even higher. You can't make this stuff up. We are all being fleeced.

  70. No one in a suit likes to see a working person make more than them. The reality is we don’t know the details of the contract and what kind of premiums and incentives management signed off on. I’m not mad at Caputo, I’m jealous he positioned himself so well.

  71. @Eric I guess you missed the part where he worked 3864 overtime hours? That is 75 hrs OVERTIME for every week in a year. Sorry, not possible. Caputo is a crook.

  72. In this case the riding public is going to be on the Governor's side not the unions'.

  73. I'm no fan of Andrew Cuomo but he is absolutely right on the OT fraud. How anyone can justify the number of OT hours worked a year and think that any honest work is being performed is sad. 3,864 hours of OT a year equals 74 hours a week. If we add this to a regular 40 hour week, Mr. Caputo worked over 16 hours a day everyday of the week last year. This story along with an excellent story the Boston Globe did recently on the abuse of OT by the Massachusetts State Police really makes me wonder if our large cities will lead the collapse of our country based on protected public unions. I don't mind paying people well and having good pensions but when the scams are publicized and nothing can be done, something is wrong. Whether it be Mr. Caputo's 3,864 hours of OT or a lot of 375K a year Mass. State Police who put in for OT shifts and never showed up to work them. I give Cuomo credit for speaking the truth. The Governor of Mass. has not said a word.

  74. @Jack Yeah, it's definitely the unions, which are fast disappearing after decades of attack, which are leading to the "collapse of our country," and not the absolutely staggering levels of inequality and corruption of the state by capitalist interests. Yeah, it's the unions. The unions are the source of all our problems, not the structural fact that capitalists have made a sport of refusing to pay in what they take from society. But yeah, the unions. Let's blame them. They are evil...

  75. Why am I still paying the onerous MTA tax, levied on the self-employed who work at home in the NYC area and don't even use the transit system? The tax was judged unconstitutional in NYS but the ruling was overturned, and since then my money has gone to pay for one fraud after another. This must stop!

  76. New Yorkers have already paid for a world-class transit system many times over, but that money goes into the pockets of greedy transit and construction unions that unnecessarily drive up costs beyond any other major city. Not just OT fraud, but byzantine work rules & staffing requirements that impede efficiency and slow deployment of new tech. Ever wonder why subway entrances are walled off and closed? It's to prevent the union from claiming that they need extra employees. Let's blow up the entire TWU contract and start over.

  77. @Garbanzo and while we're at this "either or" and "all or none" approach, let's shut down the transit system entirely, this way we don't have to pay for any of it while we duke it out Dumb just plain dumb

  78. In addition to an overtime cap, there needs to be a strict pension cap. No public employee should be receiving a 6 figure pension which is given to almost no one in the private sector. Since when did public work become more lucrative than private work?

  79. @bittinho New York City Transit employees have overtime caps in place, which management asked the union to lift, in order to start working on the huge backlog of deferred maintenance of the Subway Action Plan. This was brought up during the board meeting. Also mentioned at the union meeting was that MTA management's internal assessment was that they needed to hire 2,000 additional workers, but they hired about 750 instead, with the additional work falling into overtime instead. Tier 6 also capped the amount of pensionable overtime. There's also a difference between flagrant overwork, like Mr. Caputo, and the regular rank and file employees who are often assigned mandatory overtime, working overnight in rat infested tunnels, inhaling steel dust, maintaining a 100-year old system without proper support from our governor. The private sector doesn't work under those conditions.

  80. @bittinho You should see what retired fireman can get in CA. If you're a fire chief, you can retire at age 50, and collect a nice $250K a year for life.

  81. I have to admit that Martin Friedman was right when it comes to unions. They artificially raise the pay of a few workers through a process of exclusion. There is nothing wrong with unions necessarily but their ability to exclude qualified workers from the union jobs is a violation of the rights of those who want to work.

  82. The union leader should not be defending the outrageous overtime expenses which are mathematically impossible to do, completely wrong and clearly fraudulent. The MTA has shown they have zero control over their operation yet complain they need more money to fix the systems. Really?

  83. This is the consequence of public union collective bargaining. The union “bargains” across the table from a politician who wants their political support. So there’s is no real arms-length negotiating and the public’s interest is accordingly sacrificed for the benefit of the union and the politician.

  84. @Peter This is spot on, I think. And if it's true, then there is an unmanageable conflict of interest that is structural. If the state gives the union a contract that enables someone to earn that kind of money, it has actively incentivized the behavior.

  85. @Peter Don't you realize that the people who earned these huge sums in overtime pay are not union workers but supervisors? Read the article again. Union workers are assigned overtime. It's not their call.

  86. I retired from teaching at a community college.

  87. Isn't there anyone who came in contact with this guy who worked an average of 17 hours every single day last year who can either confirm that he was at work or refute his presence? It seems that if someone worked 6000 hours in one year must have been spotted at work from time to time.

  88. @Scottilla Close shop, closed mouth. That's the rule of closed shop unions. They are a scam and inevitable corrupt. I doubt that this guy actually worked that many hours. He might have been on the job site but he was probably taking a nap every so often. Certainly work gets done but it gets done at a sustainable somewhat leisurely pace. Try working with teamsters. It is amazing what they get away with.

  89. It's common for retirement pay in public employment to be set by the final three years of work. This fact alone accounts for much massive OT in the home stretch.

  90. @DaveD Yes, and it seems it happens in all branches of government. In Suffolk Cty, I witnessed a higher level employee been given a position that paid more, but we saw him spent the days playing games in the computer until he retired the next year. If you look at the wording, is not necessarily the last 3 years of work, but the 3 highest paid consecutive years. So, the retirement system looks at all years in order to get the final average salary (FAS). Many do wait until the last years of employment, maybe because they misunderstand the FAS or, they can get away with it easier. NYS needs to look at everything, including "consulting" employment or hiring of retirees where they could be working towards a second pension or getting paid a higher salary because consulting work salary is not regulated by Civil Service. It takes someone making public the many sources of misspending and for taxpayers to say, enough!

  91. If Mr Caputo really did these hours then he was irresponsibly endangering himself and many others. His manager should be disciplined. And clearly the work rules are inadequate. But don’t extrapolate this into all unions are bad. Unions in general are good. Bad managers always blame their workers and their unions when things go wrong. In London the transport unions have generally kept the bus and tube management ‘honest’ despite being irritating on occasion. London tube drivers by the way are not allowed to do overtime (unless their last trip is running late then they are paid for the time delayed on that trip only). They are paid a flat salary of around £50,000 and receive no extra money for working nights or weekends.

  92. If unions actually did what they were supposed to do, everyone would be better off. But in NYC at least, their sense of entitlement and incompetence is ruining the city and running competent people out. As a public servant, I tried to opt out of the union and was told I could not make that choice for myself. Essentially, we are forced to participate and pay dues. I don’t get how this isn’t illegal.

  93. @Brooklyn Were you willing to accept the raise that the union negotiated for you and your fellow workers paid for?

  94. I was a worker in the New York City transit system. I can attest that no union worker does any overtime that is not assigned to him or her by a supervisor. I would bet that this is true as well for the Long Island Railroad system and MetroNorth. The two workers mentioned by name in this article are supervisors, not union workers. Samuelson is correct that the MTA system needs to hire more workers if overtime costs are as problematic as Cuomo suggests. But, since paying overtime is actually cheaper than hiring additional workers I suspect that Cuomo is focussing on a few bad apples solely for political purposes. Shame on him.

  95. @EMiller There is a supervisors' union at the LIRR.

  96. @HMI Not the same as an hourly wage workers' union. Supervisors who have power over discipline or hiring/firing do not have the same kind of bargaining rights as wage workers. Often these groups are considered associations, not unions per se.

  97. @EMiller Looks a lot more like a union with union benefits to me. There's this from 1987: "The contract with the supervisors was said to be in line with previous pacts negotiated with the conductors, clerks, yardmasters and, most recently, the track workers. It calls for a raise of 19.5 percent in stages over four and a half years and measures to contain the cost of health care benefits and establishes a new, less costly pension plan for new employees. Like the conductors and the track workers, the supervisors have a ''me too'' clause." https://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/23/nyregion/supervisors-union-reaches-agreement-with-lirr.html

  98. If Mr. Caputo worked 3,864 overtime hours in a year, that means he worked 74 overtime hours per week, or a work week of 114 hours. Further, this mean he worked slightly over 16 hours per day, seven days a week, no days off for holidays. Assuming he had to travel to work, eat and sleep, can anyone honestly say that this is anything but fraud? The union exists only to maximize the benefits of the union with no regard to its impact on the city. The transit union runs the system and that is why NYC has the current subway problem. The only solution is to get rid of the union or to have our elected officials stop acceding to union demands.

  99. Easy to blame the workers. I'd call this a failure of MTA administration. Put the blame where it belongs on the politically appointed cronies who are unable to manage their responsibilities to operate a RR without corruption and graft.

  100. I am a lifelong union member and that kind of overtime pay is evidence of rampant mismanagement and pension-spiking by driving up the wages during final years. No wonder pension systems are under-funded. The MTA union will complain about that next. That being said, Cuomo is a complete bully. They all deserve one another in their grotesque greed for power or money.

  101. I'm shocked! Shocked! to find claims of corruption regarding a hard working union guy booking 74 hrs of overtime per week.

  102. @Midwest Josh As opposed to the "hard working" CEO's and Wall St. bankers who make millions. I hope you enjoy your weekend - it was the unions that got that perk for you.

  103. @JF - nice job deflecting.. Just say it out loud - 74 hrs of overtime every week for a year. Possible, but not probable. What is probable, however, is fraud, and I'll be the union doesn't look into this too deeply. I'll take my 65k for 40 honest hours a week, thank you.

  104. Comparing Governor Cuomo to President Trump does a disservice to the President.

  105. I thought fraud was illegal...it's not just a fireable offense, you can go to jail for it. A major investigation is called for. We can talk all we want but a thourough investigation will solve every problem.

  106. Either the NYT or the MTA has their numbers wrong. 1 worker worked 3,464 hours of OT. Let's do the math: 3,864/52 (weeks)=74.3 hours OT/week 74.3 hrs/7 (days)=10.6 hours OT/day Assuming the regular work day is 8 hours: 8+10.6 = 18.6 Hours work/day, 7 days a week, for 365 days. Leaving that worker with 5.4 hours to sleep, eat and get to and from work every single day for a year. Now, does that sound realistic to you?

  107. No wonder the MTA has to increase fares and/or look for creative ways to pay these unionized crooks. Having worked in NYC with unionized workers for several years, this is how they typically operate. Eventually companies are forced to eliminate jobs of hard-working, non-union workers, as it’s almost impossible to get rid of the lazy, unionized ones.

  108. Anyone that does not believe the union,and not just this one (check nypd) OT system is not totally 100% corrupt is lying to themselves. It has been going on for ever and everyone is aware of it and none have the guts or morality to tackle it.

  109. Wait a minute, someone logged 3,864 in overtime hours. My understanding of “overtime” is that these are hours above and beyond the 40 hours per week someone works “regular” time.. of my assumption is correct, this person worked 3,864 2,080 = 5,944 hours in ONE year. This translates to working 7 days per week, 16.33 hours per day, every day of the week of an entire year. As someone who supports unions, I’m blown away by the union’s stand on this. This is a disgusting abuse. Why is the employee’s supervisor still working there and why is his/her boss still employed? If they worked for me, the manager of that department would be summarily fired for gross incompetence.

  110. New York's Democrat politicians will never confront unions to demand rules changes that permit the abuses regularly described in NY Times articles. Last year it rules that meant the new Manhattan subway cost 4X comparable subway construction elsewhere. Before that it was the 98% approval for disability claims for the LIRR. And don't forget local governments, with Rockland police paid in excess of $300,000 per year to also increase their pensions! And then their is the 'double-dipping' with retirees after 20 years taking new union jobs, with full benefits again!

  111. Let’s see..There are 2,080 hours in a typical work year. Add 3,864 hours of overtime and you have nearly 6,000 hours of work time. There are a total of 8,760 hours in one year. That leaves 2,760 hours to eat, sleep, play, etc. Not only is this blatant fraud, someone should lose their job for allowing this criminal to put lives at risk by working under such obviously risky conditions. It’s this kind of behavior that gives unions a bad rap.

  112. @JP Thanks for doing the math. This person would have had to have worked a double shift (16 hours) -every- single day of the year (plus more) to pile up those hours.

  113. @Scott What is the hourly wage for overtime?

  114. Okay. The standard work-year (based of 40 hrs/wk) is 2080 hours. Subtracting that from just the overtime of 3,864 hours gives us 1,784 hours. This means that Mr. Caputo worked 16 hrs/day, M-F, and then averaged more than 17 hours/day for the 104 days of the Sat/Sun weekends. Did the man take even a single holiday off? Compare this work ethic to that of our current White House squatter. You know, the one who doesn't have time for briefings so now they have, what?, "nothings?" Maybe Mr. Caputo could be enticed to run for President of the United States. The pay's about the same as what he makes right now, but of course it's salaried --no overtime-- so anything over the current president's average workday of some 19 minutes or so is not going to increase the size of the paycheck.

  115. For Mr. Caputo, according to his records he worked just over 16 hours per day for 365 days!! Unbelievable

  116. 'I've been working on the railroad, all the live long day'. This was called featherbedding when the railroads were a closed secret workplace. What a disgrace...and this sort of abuse gives unions a very bad name and it is only a few apples. Mr. Caputo must have used portions of that take to pay off supervisors and others who allowed this . How much are robots?

  117. Yes there was fraud. Do the math. There are 8760 hours in a year. Mister Caputo claims to have worked for 4752 of those hours, a little over 13 hours a day for 365 days. If he cannot document this, he should be indicted for fraud. Dan Kravitz

  118. @Dan Kravitz Do the arithmetics again! It's a min. of 18 hrs every day

  119. Do all these anti-union people question the salaries of congressional members who do nothing (e.g. Mitch McConnell)? He's certainly got a sweetheart deal. Do all these anti-union people question the salaries of CEO's such as Citibank and JPMorgan? Talk about sweetheart deals. These CEO's are predators making money off the backs of union members and the little guys who are trying their best to make a living.

  120. @loricr Mitch McConnell isn't paid overtime. The CEOs of publicly traded companies are compensated by the business. The MTA employees are funded by us taxpayers.

  121. Wait, what? The employee got to choose his overtime assignment. Any chance he chose the lowest paying one? What a system.

  122. It stated clearly that he was the only one with the skill set to do the job. I have never understood why mayors/governors who hold the purse strings complain about overtime. If you're paying too much in overtime, it means you don't have enough employees. Can Cuomo not do simple arithmetic?

  123. @JF No different issue, it says he "had seniority to select overtime assignments for other jobs he was qualified for".

  124. As the Union leader said hire more workers to take care of maintaining an old system or upgrade all state transportation systems. Can't have it both ways. Like the comment below about no one complaining about Mitch McConnell and his millions. What has he really done for the country except destroy democracy?

  125. Competitively contract out more functions of the MTA. Oh wait, that's right; the union would strike and withhold campaign donations.

  126. If a strike occurs, people will walk, ride a bike, or work from home. Good exercise for free in the first two cases.

  127. 3864 hours of overtime is simply not possible. That's more than 10 hours overtime per day, all 365 days of the year. That's in addition to the 8 hours or regular work time. That means during regular work days he would have been on the job 18 hours every single day, 10 hours every day on the weekend and no vacation or sick time. Absolutely blatantly impossible.

  128. Why is it when a working man gets paid overtime for work he's doing, he's accused of "fraud" and "stealing", but when a rich man does it, it's just another day?

  129. All of the talk about how the workers are fraudulently collecting overtime money does not go to the issue of very poor management. The management of the various divisions have unions. They are management in name only. The responsibility of management is make sure all employees time is productive and that the employees time on the job is documented appropriately. It is also the responsibility of management to make sure all employees on are the job working. Sending Police to do what foremen, supervisors, managers and superintendents should be doing is wrong and the MTA is abdicating the position of managers who should be checking on their subordinates. This is in fact management 101. Having only one person qualified in a position is criminal and shows a lack of attention. After all management is responsible for having people trained to do the jobs. Remember it was MTA management who signed the contracts with the union. MTA management is responsible for the contract language. The union is responsible for asking for something and negotiating for it. Management has the responsibility of approving the contract.

  130. @One Who Knows- Grow up. Politicians, not the MTA management, have to approve all municipal contracts! And in NY, those politicians work for the unions, not the citizens or train riders! As the teacher's union head once said, I work for the teachers, not the students!

  131. Saying is that "the first part of a decaying fish to stink the most is its head".

  132. No transit worker can give themselves overtime. Overtime claims must be signed by a supervisor. If there is criminality here then it is management that needs investigating.

  133. If there is theft and fraud by workers Cuomo should arrest and charge them,if he does not do that he should should shut up because his claims are bogus.

  134. They should just cut the overtime,after all management is in charge.