Long Island Rail Road employees quit their jobs early, appeared late, and were accused of bringing their company cars home nearly 20 times in four months, accepting a three-month unpaid stop and a “last chance warning.” Railroad officials said Friday.
The proceedings against the surveillance control maintainer show how the campaign initiated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LIRR’s parent agency) to eliminate time and attendance fraud between workers is “window dressing”. ..
According to a LIRR document obtained by Newsday, Long Beach electrician Kenneth Nittoly, 43, faced several whistleblowers in a series of incidents this year, including wage theft and absence without vacation. And / or couldn’t continue working throughout his shift. ” He is also alleged to have brought back the LIRR vehicle without permission.
I wasn’t able to ask Nittoly for comment. According to official records, he earned $ 108,291 last year.
“Kenneth Nittley clearly violated LIRR’s policies and his collective bargaining agreement and pleaded guilty to those violations,” said railroad spokesman Meredith Daniels. “His actions do not represent the majority of the railroad workforce who do the right thing beyond every day.”
LIRR’s internal investigation revealed 22 individual cases of Nittoly using company cars “as a means of transportation to and from work” and storing them overnight at home from June to September. It was.
According to a letter sent by LIRR to Nittoly, it included an 11-day stretch from June 12th to June 22nd, during which the vehicle “stayed in your residence until you returned to work on vacation.” ..
Although not advocating Nittoly’s actions, Ricardo Sanchez, general chairman of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 589, Nittoly’s leading union, has LIRR management. Please uncheck it for a long time.
“He must be in trouble, but he shouldn’t be the only one,” said Sanchez, who questioned that LIRR’s manager might not be aware of employees or vehicles and might not be where they should be. Said. On 22 different occasions.
“He wasn’t doing his job, but no one was doing their job,” Sanchez added. “My job is membership protection, but I can’t compete with incompetence at LIRR.”
The MTA was scrutinized for a salary report by the Empire Center for Public Policy, showing that overtime has significantly embedded MTA’s top-earning wages, especially at LIRR. Thomas Caputo, chief measurement operator at LIRR, the highest earner of the 2018 MTA, earned more than $ 344,000 overtime, in addition to his annual salary of $ 117,499. Since then he has retired.
An important part of the MTA’s strategy to curb wage abuse was to install biometric time clocks in employee facilities. This requires workers to scan their fingers to record when they arrive and leave the office. The agency said all 74,000 employees will use this technology this year. However, in March, due to safety concerns of COVID-19, the requirement for employees to scan their fingers was suspended.
Sanchez said Nittoly didn’t have to punch in for work. LIRR officials did not confirm it, but said they had conducted a published review to ensure that employees were in compliance with work regulations.
“The supervisor identified the issue, drew management attention, led to an investigation and subsequent disciplinary action, and put an end to the terrible abuse of the electrician,” Daniels said.
Nittoly’s case follows the case of another LIRR employee who was recently accused of not being where he should be during working hours. General Carolyn Bessette, an MTA inspector, revealed last month that she repeatedly responded to emergency calls as a volunteer firefighter in North Babylon during LIRR time. Its employee, Michael Elco, has since resigned.
Sanchez said the two cases show the inefficiency of the MTA’s published efforts to curb wage abuse.
“They sat there and’we’re doing a good job.’No, no,” Sanchez said. “We tell everyone,’Be where you should be,’ but if your immediate boss doesn’t care, it’s deaf.”
Sanchez “has a good point,” said Kengeraldin, director of the Empire Center’s strategic initiative, where payroll reports have spurred reforms in MTA time and attendance.
“This is a far more widespread issue than one man and one supervisor,” Gerardin said. “When we are working on a cultural issue, we need to make people at all levels aware of the problem and invest in addressing it.”