MTA Strike Looms After Accusations About Overtime Abuse

May 15, 2019 - 9:50 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A strike threat by subway and bus workers looms as their contract expires at midnight.

The union is angry over the MTA’s investigation into soaring employee overtime.

Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen tells the Wall Street Journal that the MTA’s quest to cut overtime is criminalizing his members and leaving them vulnerable to attacks by angry riders.

Tensions escalated at an emergency board meeting last week in which Samuelsen squared off against member Larry Schwartz after Schwartz cited the case of one LIRR worker who logged 3,800 hours in OT over the course of a year.

“Our guy was assigned the overtime,” Samuelsen insisted.

“That’s why I want an investigation to get to the bottom of it,” Schwartz countered.”

“So investigate the bosses, don't go on to television and make wild accusations about criminality of your workers,” seethed Samuelsen in response.

Over the past week, the MTA has spent police officers to monitor the LIRR’s timekeeping.

According to the MTA’s own data, the spike in worker overtime has been propelled by a shortage of workers as the MTA has pushed to speed up rehab and expansion projects.