Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The LIRR: A Railroad That Doesn't Work

BOULDER, Colorado -- The Long Island Rail Road, the country's busiest commuter rail line, is run by a bunch of lazy crooks and criminals. Check out these startling facts and figures compiled by the New York Times in their ongoing investigation of the LIRR's fraudulent disability scheme (thanks for the tip, Jeremy):
  • 90% of the LIRR's career employees receive early retirement for disability
  • The Railroad Retirement Board, the obscure federal agency which supposedly reviews employee claims, regularly approves 97% of disability claims for early retirement
  • Nearly one-quarter of employees have private disability insurance, in addition to their employer-based coverage, which is a violation of company rules
  • Disabled retirees receive free membership to Long Island's Sunken Meadow golf course, at taxpayer expense
  • The LIRR is not a dangerous place to work; in fact, it has won awards for safety four out of the past five years
  • In conclusion, almost none of these people are actually disabled; they are just defrauding in the taxpayers, the state and federal governments, and the fare-paying riders out of hundreds of millions of dollars - $250 million in mostly fraudulent payments since 2000, to be precise
Last week, the LIRR started circulating this message to its employees:
“Any employee found to have filed a baseless claim for disability benefits, offered incorrect or misleading information in support of a claim, or assisted another in filing such a claim, is subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.”
Um, how about prison? At the very least, retired employees should have to return the millions of dollars that they stole from the state by fraud. I don't care if they fire every last employee, the MTA (which owns and operates the railroad) privatizes the LIRR, and they tear up all the contracts with the union members and cancel their pensions. It is shenanigans like this that give unions a bad name and hold this country back from creating a next-generation transportation network.

No comments:

Post a Comment