Daily News from New York, New York on March 23, 1986 · 201
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Daily News from New York, New York · 201

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Location:
New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 23, 1986
Page:
201
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AVERAGE ANNUAL EARNINGS 1985 g 1986 Q1987 Cleaner' TA ) S23.I Railroad" clerk B259 Conductor S24.4 i i i Bus operator 9 IS27.9. 1 1 1 r Car inspector S29.7 ' r Bus maintainer I ' ' 1 S29. 1 1 r Train operator 3 29. I I I I I I 0 S10 S20 S30 Salary, in thousands AVERAGE SUBWAY CAR SPEED miles per hour 1 1 New York 1 1 18 cTjcaqcT'TT 25 SarnFrancjscoT"""" 28 Washington D.C. 23 Philadelphia 16 ' I I I I I Getting a grip on spare parts. PI e's been howling about it for B . 11 so long that he can't even mUA remember when he started. No union rally, no public hearing, no sit-down with management could start until John La we, now international president of the Transport Workers Union, had bored everybody with a refrain that became as routine as the national anthem before a Mets game. "Give us the parts, give us the tools," he would say, "and we'll make the railroad work again." Charles Broshous, the Transit Authority's vice president for material, finally checked out Lawe's complaint and found that the union leader had a point. In tact, Lawe had so many points that they added up to more than $40 million. The TA had $28 million in obsolete parts in its storerooms and another $13 million in excess parts that the system wouldn't need for years to come. The parts which repairmen did need, on the other hand, often didn't arrive at all. "It was a disaster. The system was constipated as hell," said TA President David Gunn. "It was people, it was computers. It was the whole purchasing system." Under the old system, storeroom chiefs told line superintendents what parts they needed. But if the superintendents were overrunning their budget, "they just started canceling requisitions," Gunn said. "Now how the hell can some administrative manager or clerk possibly know what the superintendent at 207th St. or 239th St. needed? Those guys were going crazy. "Now, if the general superintendent orders something, nobody's gonna cancel it. Well, I guess if he ordered a battleship, we might look at it" In 1983, the TA had 16,000 items on order that were backed up in the supply pipeline. The figure was trimmed to 12,300 in 1984, and 2,500 last year. The TA was taking 130 days to process a procurement on an item, receive it and inspect it in 1983. That number was knocked down to 65 days in 1984, and 44 days last yean "Not bad, that's real progress," Gunn said. To remind him of the supply mess, Gunn has mounted on a plaque in his office a pair of items called R9 lubricator pads, which are used to oil axles on R9-model subway cars. The TA has only a couple of R9 cars, which are used solely on work trains, and thousands of lubricator pads. "We have enough to last several hundred years," Gunn said. c:::cr;:::i2 V The riff over work rules. IT he biggest union-management llJ fight at the Transit Authority nowadays concerns "pick and post" work rules. Management claims that when the guy at the Coney Island repair shop calls up and says "send me two dozen framisses," the framisses aren't getting there because of "the pick." The union says the framisses, whatever they might be, are getting there, and that management's attack is really an attempt to scuttle seniority rights. "It's a very basic dispute. It goes to the heart of everything we're trying to do," says TA President David Gunn. Gunn has won the strategic battle in arbitration but how the whole issue will work itself out tactically on the shop floor is still to be determined. Subway riders might be forgiven a yawn about the whole thing until they realize how much is at stake. The TA has spent $10 million setting up an "electric bench" shop at the 207th St. yard. Management wants if 1 If to have aO its 226 car electricians work there, and it wants to be able to decide which worker does what. The "pick" system allows workers to choose the parts they will work on, with senior employes getting first dibs. "It gets very complicated when you have vacancies all sorts of bidding and bumping," Gunn says. What management really wants, it appears, is the ability to mobilize the most skilled workers for the most complicated jobs. The men with the most experience, however, are also the most senior people who, not surprisingly, tend to choose the easiest tasks when the "pick" comes up. Gunn maintains that the pick is destroying management's ability to control what repairs are done, and the extent of those repairs. "Guys go over and rummage around and find whatever part they want and then go back to the bench and work on it. There's no standard scheme of repair." Not so, says union leader Sonny Hall, who claims productivity in the electrical department is booming, and that TA management "has bragged about it" to state legislators. The facts of life, as Hall sees them, are that some jobs are tougher than others, and that senior workers have earned the right to the easier jobs. "They want to throw out seniority rights. As long as they take that attitude, no dice. They don't believe that the method to work together is by motivation. They believe it's mtimidation." 22

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