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.
In 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 SeeThroughNY.net, 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.