Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by Kelly&Kelly
 
Well, "The Cat's out of the Bag"!

As Kellys' discussed here for many years, the MTA finally dropped the bomb in NY newspapers yesterday. It deems the East Side Access not to be part of the Long Island Rail Road and will develop a new, non union, non-railroad agency to operate it.

What that truly means and what it will encompass is anyone's guess, but here's the plan as it stands today.

New York State will create an "East Side Operating Authority," something like the "Long Island Power Authority", to seek contracts from outside vendors to manage, maintain and operate the tracks, station, concessions, power, and perhaps trains that travel to and from Grand Central's new ESA terminal. It's felt that the cost savings, flexibility and of course "team diversity" of not using LIRR union manpower will be superior to retention of the present LIRR workforce. The MTA also - quite ridiculously - claims by doing so would relieve the new route from "onerous" FRA safety and Railroad Labor Act oversight.

The bomb that is not mentioned in the MTA's press release and that has not been discussed with the Unions is the MTA's consideration of a contractor to actually operate the East Side trains. What is being considered is an operation where an engineer from a contract company - someone like the New York and Atlantic, for example - would operate every ESA train from its eastern terminal to Grand Central and back.

Of course such an engineer would be qualified on the portion of the LIRR over which he travels. And, thanks to a thirty-year-old agreement, the LIRR's engineer's union allows such a thing.

Conductors and trainmen would have to be LIRR employees, and their Union took good care in including a "passenger train manning rule" in earlier agreements that appears to guarantee them that work. Not so with the Engineers' union, which permits non-members to operate trains on the LI's tracks. For now, at least, the MTA is claiming nobody has exclusive rights to operate on the new tracks, that the FRA has no jurisdiction and that it isn't even a "railroad," but a "transit carrier".

Much of this is State nonsense, of course. We doubt we'll see anyone other than LIRR engineers operating these ESA trains. The logistic and management nightmare would simply not be worth any savings. But don't think the MTA won't get the full value of their ability to do this in future negotiations with the Long Island engineers and other crafts. They will exact work rule, salary and pension concessions at every turn from the unions to save these jobs.

So far as other MTA nonsense goes, the FRA certainly does have full jurisdiction, as does the Railroad Retirement Board, the Railway Labor Act and perhaps even the Signalman's and Track workers' unions whose political clout is not to be underestimated. But in the worse case unfortunately, this will all pay out in a very labor-adverse Democrat-controlled federal court. Who knows what will happen there.

For now at least, it looks like another new management army of unqualified lifetime-recycled political hacks in cheap ill-fitted suits will blossom to oversee this new Authority. An endless and ever-changing parade of low paid, inexperienced but socially woke out-of-town contract signal maintainers, trackmen, engineering forces, building maintenance men, car cleaners, machinists and car inspectors are getting on the bus now, headed for Long Island's East Side Access' new headquarters on Park Avenue.

It won't be pretty, and it won't be any bargain for the riding public.
  by gregorygrice
 
The trains (aside from initial testing) will be run be LIRR crews. The station maintenance will be contracted the same way Moynihan is. Track maintenance will be contracted as well.
  by gregorygrice
 
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:20 am
Not so with the Engineers' union, which permits non-members to operate trains on the LI's tracks.
Also all NYA employees are full paying members of LIRR's BLE (269) and have been since the beginning.
  by Kelly&Kelly
 
I believe GregoryGrice's prediction will be right. After lots of MTA whining, LIRR personnel will operate the trains. But this concession will not be without cost to the current employees.

Or the unions could turn on their members and only require that the "independent contractor replacements" pay dues to them, as was the case with the NYAR engineers.
  by ConstanceR46
 
Not a fan. Especially seeing how the Penn expansion (i'm not calling it the other thing) is going - no benches to be seen but two whole florists.

also for the nonce being pro-union is a "socially woke" position
  by freightguy
 
gregorygrice wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:22 am
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:20 am
Not so with the Engineers' union, which permits non-members to operate trains on the LI's tracks.
Also all NYA employees are full paying members of LIRR's BLE (269) and have been since the beginning.


First they were members of UTU local 385 croton-on-Hudson(Conrail). Both transportation and engine service. Then in 2000 the engineers were represented by the BLE(T) LIRR 269. In late 2003 there was an outright A-Card of the UTU local 385 and all New York and Atlantic conductors and engineers became LIRR BLE 269 members when Bob Evers was still general chairman
  by gregorygrice
 
ConstanceR46 wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:06 pm no benches to be seen
Moynihan has a huge waiting area for ticketed passengers with benches tables and outlets. Something the "old"/ current Penn didn't have.
  by gregorygrice
 
freightguy wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:58 pm
gregorygrice wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:22 am
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:20 am
Not so with the Engineers' union, which permits non-members to operate trains on the LI's tracks.
Also all NYA employees are full paying members of LIRR's BLE (269) and have been since the beginning.


First they were members of UTU local 385 croton-on-Hudson(Conrail). Both transportation and engine service. Then in 2000 the engineers were represented by the BLE(T) LIRR 269. In late 2003 there was an outright A-Card of the UTU local 385 and all New York and Atlantic conductors and engineers became LIRR BLE 269 members when Bob Evers was still general chairman
My point was that they are not "contractors" "stealing anyone's work. They are fellow union railroaders.
  by freightguy
 
A lot of moving parts with this and something to keep on eye on. To show people newer to the railroad how much things have changed:

Around 2000 the Kawasaki C3's(diesel coaches) needed to be retrofitted. The work was going to be performed by non-union personnel. The LIRR unions wouldn't entertain that. So the coaches had to be retrofitted basically off LIRR facility property and the was done at the NYAR Yard A. For years on end Arch St shops have operated with non-union Bombardier personnel. Things seem to be changing rapidly.

A lot of jobs have been removed from LIRR and sister Metro North and moved to MTA headquarters. With a move like that the new hires for those jobs at the MTA do not receive railroad retirement and it saves them a lot of money. Newer departments created like MTA Construction and Development have taken some of those jobs from both commuter railroads. Procurement and Human Resources seems to moving in that direction also. So what's being attempted with East Side Access is something to watch.