MTA wants to make big changes to LIRR contracts

The MTA is looking to make big changes to LIRR union contracts. Newsday reports the Transit Authority wants to nix double-time pay for certain overtime assignments, cap the number of consecutive hours worked at 16, scrutinize sick leave and give itself the option to hire private contractors whenever it wants.

The 42-page notice filed by MTA officials marks the beginning of negotiations with the LIRR's 10 unions.

All have been working without a contract since April.

The heightened focus on overtime stems from a bombshell report from the Empire Center for Public Policy revealing alarmingly high OT rates among some of LIRR's employees.

Including LIRR chief measurement officer Thomas Caputo, who made just over $344,000 in overtime on top of his base salary of more than $177,000.

In May, the MTA Board held an emergency meeting on the issue. It announced the hiring of a special counsel to investigate, plus installed time clocks at employee facilities.

One month later, a cut cord on a time clock was discovered at an employee facility in Jamaica, Queens.

The MTA's inspector general called it 'sabotage' and launched an investigation.

In July, the MTA Board approved a sweeping reorganization plan, which could lead to the elimination of 2,700 jobs.

LIRR labor leaders asked for assurances that none of those layoffs would be union workers.

Patrick Foye, the MTA's CEO, said he can't make that guarantee.