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News of the Weird
 

Government in Action


July 8th, 2010

Labor unions' sweet, recession-proof contract with the New York City area's severely cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year provided 8,074 blue-collar workers (conductors, engin...

Labor unions' sweet, recession-proof contract with the New York City area's severely cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year provided 8,074 blue-collar workers (conductors, engineers, repairmen, etc.) with six-figure compensation, including about 50 who earned $200,000 or more. Researchers cited by The New York Times in April found that one Long Island Rail Road conductor made $239,148, about $4,000 more than the MTA's chief financial officer and about $48,000 short of being the highest-paid person in the entire system. Included in some of the fat payouts for LIRR locomotive engineers was special "penalty" pay (about $94,600 in one case) for engineers who are required to move a train to a different location from its normal assignment.

Arizona (viewed by some as hard-hearted for its April law stepping up its vigilance for illegal immigrants) showed a soft side recently, implementing a $1.25 million federal grant that it believes will save the lives of at least five squirrels a year. The state's 250 endangered Mount Graham red squirrels risk becoming roadkill on Route 366 near Pima, and the state is building a rope bridge for them to add to several existing tunnels.

 
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