MTA management is taking full advantage of the inexperience and lack of “fight” in the RTO department union’s representation and it’s on full display.
Conductors who are now restricted may have the possibility of being sent home due to “no work available”. Recently a conductor was told this after being put on restriction due to medical reasons. What that sums up to is restricted duty to the platform may no longer be an available option for conductors because their isn’t really any “light duty” jobs for that title. The conductor was told, “this is now policy and THE UNION has accepted this”.
WHAT THE UNION IS SAYING?
The union is saying that they are well aware of what management is doing and has filed a grievance in order to try to rectify this situation.
WHAT THE UNION IS FAILING TO SAY
There are 3 types of grievances you can file and they are contractual, medical and disciplinary. This type of grievance will fall up under a contractual grievance.
A contract grievance is stated as “A Contract Interpretation Grievance is hereby defined to be a complaint on the part of any covered employee or group of such employees that there has been on the part of Management, non-compliance with or a misinterpretation of any of the provisions of this Agreement or of any written rule, or Policy/Instruction of the Authority governing or affecting its employees, or that any run or work schedule imperils the health or safety of employees. A Contract Interpretation Grievance shall not include any claim subject to the Disciplinary Grievance Procedure”.
But here’s the kicker…. There is NO LANGUAGE in the contract that says the MTA can’t send home conductors for “no work available”. In fact this is what the contract states…
It seems as if the MTA has found a viable loophole in the contract and has decided to exercise it under this current RTO subservience. What exactly the union is filing a grievance about in the contract is unseen. There is no language that says the MTA has violated the contract, but one thing you can’t do is file a grievance because “your mad”. You have to cite exactly what management violated in the contract.
ROGER TOUSSAINT WON ARBITRATION AWARD IN 2009
“With regards to Restricted Duty Conductor jobs, here is the specific language that I negotiated into the 2009-2012 contract. It ended up being issued as arbitration award after the TA refused to honor it and we went to court. The entire award was upheld by the Court. The language: “The Authority agrees to include 40 restricted duty jobs for Conductors on the pick”. Unless all those jobs are filled by RD conductors, the Authority is in violation of the contract, unless of course, the Union made some other agreement allowing the TA to break the contract” – Roger Toussaint
THE ISSUES THAT’S ALSO AFFECTING THIS SITUATION
You have conductor’s who are restricted for weeks/months/years due to poor MTA practice. Those conductors, especially the ones who are restricted due to incidents, can be put back on the road faster if other departments didn’t drag their feet and took initiative in their jobs.
You also have situations where train operators are doing platform duty. The issue with this is it takes away from the restricted conductors. Train operators have more restricted duty work opportunities than conductors, especially in the yards.
Also with the implementation of the designated “platform control jobs” that probably created a shortage of restricted jobs for conductors. That department in its first full year of operation has also faced a lot of criticism due to the malfeasance of RTO union representation who have been scared to fight and push for their workers.
Women who are restricted due to pregnancy can now be sent home due to “no work available” without pay? Is that fair? If you are pregnant while working for MTA and go on restriction means you can now be punished and miss days/weeks of pay? This is the time when you need money the most.
I personally think no investigation should last no longer than 7 days, especially incident investigations. That will force the investigative departments to work and do their job in a timely manner instead of procrastinating. It will also free up restricted jobs for people who really need it, i.e people with medical restrictions.
Some employees be restricted for months and in some cases a year at a time, it’s not unheard of. If an investigation can’t be completed in 7 days then the case should be dropped and that conductor/train operator should return to their regular job. This will force management to do their job thoroughly and in a timely manner.
Also, I think the implementation of permanent “put in” jobs for conductors should be made available in the next contract. It will level the field of restricted duty jobs for conductors.
Furthermore, I think the MTA found a loop-hole in the contract and the RTO reps are stalling of members with the narrative of “we filed a grievance” instead of being honest and saying what it is.
Filing a grievance doesn’t say anything if you don’t have the proper contractual language to back up your claim. Loop-holes happen all the time, just tell the members IT WILL get rectified next contract.
Telling members “we filed a grievance” shouldn’t be your go-to answer for everything, because sooner or later the people will awaken and start asking for results which are rightfully deserved.
Hopefully this can get resolved!
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