LIRR pins the blame on the mysterious Railroad Retirement Board, the federal outfit located in Chicago, which the railroad said it wants no further dealings with.
Says LIRR in a statement:
No one from the Long Island Rail Road or from the MTA was involved in the granting of these disability pensions by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. The LIRR has no direct representation on the federal board that grants these disability pensions for the railroad industry nationwide. In fact, the MTA has asserted that its commuter rails should no longer be part of the Railroad Retirement Board pension system, and instead be part of the Social Security system, a move that would save the MTA millions each year if approved.
LIRR also said its retired staffers’ disability rates, which run around 95% of all retired career employees and cost taxpayers billions, was “out of sync” with actual employee disability:
The high rate of disability pensions awarded to former LIRR employees by this governmental body is alarming and out of sync with our workplace safety record at the Long Island Rail Road and is inconsistent with social security disability rates. The LIRR’s on-the-job injury rate has been in steady decline due to a sustained effort to make our workplace a safe environment. In fact, less than 1% of LIRR employees during the past three years obtained a disability pension from the MTA pension plan compared to the Railroad Retirement Board’s approval rate.
Gov. Paterson has vowed to look into the issue in today’s NY Times, and is giving attorney general Andrew Cuomo full power to poke around the LIRR and find out what the fuck went wrong.
LIRR says it’s happy to play ball with Cuomo and the governor:
“We referred this matter last month to the Inspector Generals for the Railroad Retirement Board and the MTA,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “We will provide any information requested. We applaud Gov. Paterson’s swift action on this matter.”