New York’s transit pay train

Employees of New York’s sprawling Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) make a good buck — and top salaries are by no means limited to the white-collar brass at the state-run agency’s midtown Manhattan headquarters.

mta-trainIn 2013, one in seven MTA workers pulled down at least $100,000 in total pay. The vast majority of those 10,482 six-figure earners were hourly blue-collar workers and their supervisors, according to a payroll database at, a government transparency website sponsored by the non-profit Empire Center in Albany.

The MTA’s operating subsidiaries include the 50,000-employee New York City Transit Authority (which runs both the subways and buses in the city) as well as the suburban Metro-North Rail Road and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The authority also has its own security force, the MTA Police, whose more than 600 officers earned average pay of $125,000 last year.

To be sure, high salaries are typical of county and municipal police departments throughout the metropolitan New York City region — not to mention the New York and New Jersey Port Authority police, whose average pay was virtually equal to that of their MTA counterparts. The 2013 figures don’t reflect the 7.5 percent retro pay boost MTA’s rank-and-filers will get under a sweet deal their union negotiated with the authority earlier this year.

Among non-police operating subsidiaries, LIRR employees were the MTA’s 2013 pay champs, earning an average of $84,000. Twenty-eight percent of LIRR employees received more than $100,000, including 166 who more than doubled their base pay with overtime and other extras, five of whom more than tripled their their base salaries.

The LIRR has been threatened with a strike in September by its main union, which wants the MTA to knuckle under to a six-year pact including a 17 percent total base pay increase, as recommended by a presidential mediation board. That’s more than the city Transit Workers Union got in its recent six-year deal, which boosts base pay by 11 percent.

Speaking of the LIRR, here’s an interesting article explaining the difference between New York City transit workers and most public employee unions in New York, who are subject to the strike prohibition in the Taylor Law, and the LIRR unions, which are covered by the federal Railway Labor Act.

Comments (2) Add yours ↓
  1. eatingdogfood

    My Union Boss down at the Town Hall emailed me yesterday and.
    Told me that this article was hitting the Papers today, and He told Me.
    to make it Look like I was Working till this Blows Over in a week. I
    know the routine! In a week, I’ll be back to my usual activity of.
    Collecting A Paycheck for Doing Nothing! Hey, Private Sector.
    Workers; You really gotta Pony Up more Taxes! I need at least a 10 %.
    raise! My Cabin Cruiser at the Dock behind my Vacation House in.
    Florida needs a New Engine. My wife has been after me for a new car.
    She wants a BMW X6 G-Power Typhoon S! I told her I can’t afford that.
    car. So then she says she will accept a Mercedes-Benz CL-Class and.
    Nothing else! I also got Private School Tuition of $ 40,000.00 due.
    in September. I got Credit Card Expenses coming out my AXX! That
    new 3000 sq ft extension on my house raised my property taxes $ 15,000.
    The maid and the housekeeper want raises. The gardener also wants a.
    raise. You see Bunky; It ain’t easy in the Public Sector! So come
    on Private Sector Worker; Pony Up and Pay More Taxes so I can afford to.
    live here! You See; Life Is Not Fair, and the DemoRats will take.
    care of Everything! HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!

    June 9, 2014 Reply
  2. Larry Littlefield

    A more fair title would be Long Island’s transit pay train. The game plan has been to squeeze the city to fund excesses elsewhere. If you want to look at relatively high costs within NYC, look to the bus system.

    The big time abuses are out in the suburbs.

    June 9, 2014 Reply

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