NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 4, 2010

In an era of generous municipal salaries and union-friendly overtime rules, it may not come as a complete shock that there are thousands of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (M.T.A.) employees --- 8,074 to be precise -- who made $100,000 or more last year, says the New York Times. 

The usual top level managers are included in that list, but so are dozens of lower-level employees, including conductors, police officers and engineers, many of whom pulled in six figures in overtime and retirement benefits alone. 

  • 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.  

M.T.A. is readying service cuts to close a budget shortfall of $400 million, and its chairman, Jay H. Walder, has said he plans to reel in runaway overtime costs, which pile up to $560 million annually. 

But the authority, which employs about 70,000 workers over all, cannot significantly reduce its labor costs without concessions from its unions, which say their workers deserve their compensation for difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs. 

  • Overall, M.T.A. workers' average pay rose about 2.4 percent last year; management salaries were frozen.
  • Around 60 percent of the authority's current budget -- about $7 billion -- is used to pay labor costs including payroll, pensions and overtime.  

Source: Michael M. Grynbaum, "$239,000 Conductor Among M.T.A.'s 8,000 Six-Figure Workers," New York Times, June 3, 2010. 

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