Unfortunately train crews don’t operate under 3rd rail power (even though that seems to go out sometime also), but we need food and recovery time to properly function. Now imagine going a whole 8hr + day without having a lunch break, welcome to Transit!
PICTURE THIS SCENARIO
Your train is late coming into the terminal due to signal trouble down the road. According to your schedule, your supposed to have a 35 minute lunch break at the terminal, but that got screwed up due to the signal problems and you arrive 15 mins late. You go to the dispatcher to fill out a claim exemption form for no lunch but he says, “you have 20 minutes, you don’t qualify for a no lunch”. What are you to do?
First and foremost, 20 minutes isn’t enough time for train crews to eat. The MTA act like crews teleport from the train to the crew room with hot meals waiting for them. Someone should inform them just incase they didn’t know, that isn’t the case.
The main problem with this 20 mins is that management nor supervision has factored in bulletin 030-16 which plainly states “All Train Crews are reminded that they must be on their trains and/or their respective operating positions two minutes prior to their scheduled leaving time.”
How can you get denied a no lunch at 20 minutes when you have to be on your departing trip 2 mins before your leaving time? Its doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math, but doesn’t that really turn the 20 minutes into 18 minutes? Why hasn’t this issue been addressed by the union yet?
WHAT DOES THE LAW STATE?
Meal Period Guidelines
New York State has rules that govern the time allowed for workers to eat during their shift on the job. You can choose to read the full text of the law or our interpretation below.
Labor Department Interpretation
Which Employees Does This Rule Cover?
- Blue collar
- White collar
Do you allow Shorter Meal Periods?
We will permit employers to offer a shorter meal period of at least 30 minutes:
- Without application by the employer
- Only if it causes no hardship to employees
- ONLY in special or unusual cases
- After we investigate
- With the issue of a special DOL permit
Other Special Cases
In some cases, it is customary for the employee to eat on the job without being relieved. This applies where:
- Only one person is on duty
- There is only one person in a specific occupation
If the employee volunteers to accept this arrangement, the Department of Labor will accept these special situations as compliance with Section 162. However, an employer must offer an uninterrupted meal period to every employee who asks for one.
According to the guidelines of the New York State labor law it looks like the MTA shouldn’t be giving out 20 minute lunches period.
Where are your union reps when you need them?
What is your take on the issue?
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