The MTA is backing off its new initiative to have its transit cops keep tabs on worker attendance and use of overtime, the Daily News learned Friday.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Pat Foye told Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano on Thursday night he would stop using MTA police to monitor their co-workers attendance, according to the union.
“It’s a good development, but I’m still furious that this happened at all,” Utano said in a written statement. “The chairman had police officers standing watch over workers like prison guards over inmates. He treated his employees like convicted criminals.”
The move to have transit cops monitor Long Island Rail Road workers’ overtime came as the MTA continues to struggle to tamp down salaries that have soared well above six figures. But news of the plan drew harsh rebukes from union officials when it was first revealed Wednesday by The News.
Foye has also asked that the MTA inspector general investigate attendance throughout the authority.
Anthony Simon, president of a union that represents LIRR workers, blasted Foye for the police monitoring plan in a letter sent Wednesday. Transport Workers International President John Samuelsen said there was also room for an open discussion about overtime, but he slammed Foye for using police like “beakies and Pinkertons.”
And Utano took him to task for distracting cops from other tasks, like protecting workers from attacks or combating farebeaters.
“It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. It’s outrageous,” he said at the time of the move.
The MTA began the policy earlier this week at LIRR workplaces. At the time, an MTA spokesman said the plan would not lead to more MTA police overtime. The MTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the police rollback on Friday.
A recent analysis by the Empire Center revealed that MTA cops took in an average of about $35,000 in overtime and other extra pay in 2018.
Foye described the plan to monitor worker overtime with MTA as a “welcome step” earlier this week.