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Some Long Island Railroad workers used overtime to double their earnings in 2021

Kathy Willens

Close to 3% of unionized Long Island Rail Road workers used overtime to double their annual pay last year, according to the latest overtime report from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Of the LIRR’s 6,688 overtime-eligible employees last year, 2.8% of them had overtime earnings exceeding their base pay. That’s significantly higher than Metro-North and the rest of the MTA agencies.

Measures were put in place in 2019 to combat overtime abuse after five MTA workers were indicted on fraud charges after investigations into wage abuse.

LIRR overtime has been on the decline from $188 million in 2020 to $174 million in 2021.

The report also found MTA union contracts give priority to senior employees when granting overtime.

Watchdog groups are concerned about senior employees possibly doing extra overtime to increase pensionable earnings before they retire. Union officials argue some senior employees have actually declined overtime due to the increased scrutiny.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.