MTA Targets Overtime for Cost Savings

NEW YORK — The MTA has announced plans to significantly reduce its overtime costs, with savings of more than $20 million in 2010 and $60 million annually starting in 2011.

The announcement reflected the agency’s recent completion of an internal review of its $560 million annual overtime expense. The review concluded that while some overtime is necessary to run service, inflexible work rules, employee absenteeism and pension padding contribute to significant amounts of unnecessary overtime.

Officials acknowledged that despite some advances, management has also played a role in allowing unnecessary overtime and committed to a series of tighter management controls that will lead to the cost reductions. Agency officials also said that the savings projected for 2011 could only be achieved in partnership with its labor unions.

“Some overtime is needed to put out a reliable service and respond to emergencies, but much of it is unnecessary and can’t be justified,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Charles Monheim. “MTA leadership is now committed to eliminating unnecessary overtime, and we expect new controls to save millions. We will do our part, but a real partnership with labor is the only way to make a real dent in unnecessary overtime.”