Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Work Rules are worst

The NYTimes decides to take another swing at a public sector union, the MTA.
One of those workers, a Long Island Rail Road conductor who retired in April, made $239,148, about $4,000 more than the authority’s chief financial officer, according to payroll data released on Wednesday.

In fact, more than a quarter of the Long Island Rail Road’s 7,000 employees earned more than $100,000 last year, including the conductor, Thomas J. Redmond, and two locomotive engineers — who were among the top 25 earners in the entire transportation authority.
Although the numbers are pretty eye-popping, from my experience, I think the real stories are in the work rules. I did a project that involved a unionized work force, and they earned a lot for very basic work, but what really impacted the company were the plethora of work rules that made it impossible to improve performance in any way. The article hints at some here, but never really delves deeply into, what I am sure, are a bunch of nutso restrictions:
He also received $94,600 in “penalty payments,” which railroad officials said stemmed from a contractual rule that requires engineers who work in a storage yard to be paid extra if they are assigned to move a locomotive to a nearby maintenance facility or if they are asked to operate a train outside of the yard.
I'm not sure what the difference is between operating a train inside a yard and outside a yard, but it may just be a matter of feet.

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