Meet the union boss
making the subway suck
His name is Gary LaBarbera and his labor group, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, is making New York’s subway system a global embarrassment.
Known for their expensive work rules and cost overruns, LaBarbera’s cash-hungry unions take valuable resources away from subway repairs and upgrades. Delays are the direct result of antiquated switching equipment that needs hundreds of millions to be upgraded. But the only upgrades are to LaBarbera’s unions, which keep profiting while New York’s subway keeps sucking.
5 ways unions are
Ruining your commute
In December 2017, a New York Times investigation exposed the “excessive staffing, little competition, and generous contracts” plaguing the MTA—while subway riders and taxpayers foot the bill.
Some of the New York Times findings’ include:
World's highest construction costs
Transit construction costs in New York City are the highest in the world. The estimated cost of the “East Side Access” Long Island Rail Road project is $3.5 billion for each new mile of track—seven times the global average.
The MTA budget for a 3.5-mile tunnel connecting Grand Central Terminal to the Long Island Rail Road included 900 workers being paid to dig caverns, even though only 700 jobs needed to be filled.
The MTA also creates union jobs that have no value, including break room supervisors and workers paid to lubricate cranes that are self-lubricating. Elevators also have their own operators, even though they are automatic.
The MTA employs tunnel diggers who, for overtime and Sunday work, earn more than $400 an hour. Unemployed workers are often paid $1,000 a day.
Penalties for technology
Unions are paid $450,000 for each tunnel-boring machine used to make up for job losses from “technological advancement.” (Tunnel-boring equipment has been standard for decades.)
“Labor deals multiply costs while doing little to boost safety”
The New York Times
Construction Costs Per Mile
New York’s transit construction costs can be shockingly high – over seven times the global average.
* Costs commonly associated with select metropolitan areas (Source: CityLab)
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