LIRR track staff still allowed to work 84-hour shifts due to union contract: inspector
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has come under fire after a new audit revealed track maintenance employees can work up to 84 hour shifts without any breaks for sleep, due to union-negotiated work rules. The report, released by the MTA’s Office of Inspector General, found LIRR management had failed to use scheduling powers to prevent dangerously long work assignments. The report also revealed that while track crews accounted for just 27% of the LIRR’s staffing, they earned $23m of the railway’s total overtime pay in 2022. The watchdog’s review was based on data from time cards, which have previously been abused by workers.
What is the Long Island Rail Road?
The Long Island Rail Road is a commuter railway system primarily serving commuters travelling to and from New York City, as well as to other destinations in Long Island, New York.
Why was the system audited?
The MTA’s Office of Inspector General conducted an audit of the Long Island Rail Road’s work practices after a lead to believe that workers were routinely working excessively long hours without breaks.
What did the audit reveal?
The audit revealed that track maintenance employees of the LIRR can work shifts up to 84 hours long without sleep breaks. This is due to union-negotiated work rules and LIRR management’s failure to utilise scheduling powers to prevent dangerously long work assignments.
Inspector reports that LIRR track personnel can still operate for 84-hour shifts as per the union contract.
A new audit has revealed that Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) track maintenance employees are permitted to work shifts of up to 84 hours long, with no breaks for sleep, due to extraordinary work rules negotiated by the union. Despite a recent spate of overtime scandals, the LIRR’s work rules continue to permit track maintenance employees to work dangerously long shifts, according to the report from the MTA’s Office of Inspector General. The report revealed that the track crews earned $23m in overtime in 2022, equivalent to 39% of all the overtime worked by LIRR’s Engineering department. This is despite only comprising 27% of the department’s workforce. The report also showed that the LIRR has failed to utilise the minimal scheduling powers currently in its control and highlighted an overall staffing shortage. Acting MTA Inspector General Elizabeth Keating called for urgent action on the issue.