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LIRR track staff still allowed to work 84-hour shifts due to union contract


LIRR track staff still allowed to work 84-hour shifts due to union contract: inspector

By Nolan Hicks
June 1, 2023

Despite a slew of overtime scandals, the Long Island Rail Road still allows its track maintenance employees to book shifts that are up to 84 hours long — stretching for more than three days — with no breaks for sleep due to extraordinary work rules negotiated long ago by its union, a damning new audit shows.

The report released by the MTA’s Office of Inspector General on Thursday determined the work rules, combined with LIRR management’s failure to utilize the few scheduling powers it does control and an overall staffing shortage to create an environment where the railroad is handing out dangerously long work assignments.

“Fatigued workers put the safety of employees, the public, and railroad assets at risk, and we should not continue to normalize the situation,” said the acting MTA Inspector General, Elizabeth Keating, in a statement.

Overall, the IG found that the track crews earned $23 million in overtime in 2022 — 39% of all the overtime clocked by employees of the LIRR’s Engineering department while accounting for just 27% of its staffing.

The watchdog’s review was based on data collected from the LIRR’s time cards, which have been the subject of past abuse.

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Free Vulcan:
I've done 72 hours from insomnia, at the end you are euphoric and completely on autopilot, not able to make great decisions of any complexity, like running trains.

It should be mentioned that track department workers aren't under the federal Hours of Service laws that limit the work periods of operating department employees such as engineers, conductors, dispatchers and signal maintainers.

I never heard of track dept. "shifts" like this on Conrail, Metro-North or Amtrak.
But then, the LIRR always had its own set of rules, many of which were "different" than the other railroads...


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