Idiot of the Day


I don’t often get fired up about the opinions expressed in the comments by readers of this blog, but this most recent one made my blood boil. Here’s the scenario:

Back on September 13th, we posted a story about a kid getting shot at subway station right near the token booth. As a side comment, I said I hoped the token clerk wasn’t asleep at the time so that maybe they could identify the suspect. On that note, I posted six (that’s right…six) different photos I found online of MTA Employees literally sleeping on the job.

After that, I commented that employees sleeping on the job should have their new raises revoked and given to employees that actually manage to stay AWAKE during their shift.

Then, Tom McManus (a subway worker) posted this response:

WOW!, I see you don’t miss any chance you get to bash us BASTARDS. Perhaps it was the token clerk who shot him. And I suppose you are 100% productive 100% of the time you are at work, RIGHT? I may be a BASTARD but you are an @$$hole!

My jaw dropped with I read this. He’s actually defending people who sleep on the job. As if it’s not that big of a deal because no one is ever “100% productive 100% of the time” at their jobs. Because you know, we all fall asleep at work all the time. What’s the big deal, right? (Here’s my full response)

So the TWU wants raises, free benefits, etc for their workers, but little naps during your shift are ok too.

Am I the only one who thinks this is the most ridiculous comment ever?

36 thoughts on “Idiot of the Day

  1. this kind of thing is why i have zero sympathy for the TWU. they are just as bad as management in their own way. blow up the system and start over.


  2. Well, i dunno. Im not saying its ok to sleep on the job, cause its not. But, the transit workers are the ones running our subway system. Maybe we should give ’em a lil more credit for what they do. Obviously, this isnt my full opinion and i do have different views on this, but generally, yeah i feel this way.


  3. Tom McManus has proven himself to be retarded before. My favorite quote was “As for suspicious this is New York City. Think for a minute about all the things Transit Workers see everyday. What is suspicious to you is normal to us.”

    Really? I work in NYC too. I tend to notice things at my job that are out of the ordinary, probably because I’m ALWAYS awake at my job.


  4. Yeah. Well, being asleep on the job by no means is acceptable because its irresponsible. But im just saying that instead of trashing the workers, there r other ways to get what we want, but, of course, staying awake on the job…is basically the point of why ur getting paid.


  5. I wonder if they will let me sleep on the job as a radiographer… heck I even have a x-ray table to sleep on lol.

    Ive actually never seen a booth employee sleeping so It cant be happening too often.

    I know sleeping on the job is a no no but I guess its understandable (if its not done on purpose) for the guys on the late late night shift sometimes you cant help it… I can relate.

    When I was in Iraq I was picked to be driver, lack of sleep + early early morning mission + no light + Night vision googles = Dozed off while driving and almost driving into a ditch. I regret dozing off and consider that incident the 3rd biggest mistake I made while I was there. I fought hard to stay awake and didnt even know I dozed off until I was awoken by my NCO screaming “LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!”

    That was one incident Im usually good at staying awake I do everything I can, even snort Tabasco sauce so that the burning can keep me awake and alert heh.


  6. Did I defend sleeping on the job? NOOOOO! Did I ever before call you a BASTARD NOOO! My comments were in direct responce to your blanket judgment that we are BASTARDS and that the raises that we fought so hard to win at great personal cost were given to us. Does anyone ever wonder how many hours these sleepers may have worked within one week.
    I know I have on occasion worked 21 nights straight without a day off, with 12 & 16 hour shifts on weekends. It’s not like the guy in the booth can get up and go for coffee, hell he has to call someone to watch the booth just to piss. So keep passing judgment on us but if you think it’s such a great job take the test and show us what you are all made of.
    Thank you emprice and B for understanding.
    As for Todd I once got on a down town F train and saw a 40 something year old white guy wearing a white police cap leather straps bat man underwear and cowboy boots.( where does he keep his metro card? ) It wasn’t Halloween. And hundreds of other weird things. My comments were made to highlight the lack of security training at MTA. Which is only now training us on terrorist activity. So for your safety you better hope that I am not lacking mentaly.


  7. Everybody thinks thier job is the toughest, and that’s understandable. Some people like thier jobs and some don’t. But as the old addage goes “walk a mile in my shoes, before you judge me”. Todd seems to think transit workers are “under worked and over paid” and I’m sure he’s not the only one. But how many of you know a Transit worker? Did you ever ask them what it’s like? or what they do? Do you really believe we can afford to live better than you?
    It may be interesting to find out what kind of work the rest of you are doing?
    Is your job exciting, boring, dangerous?
    Does it pay enough? Share one of your days with me, and I’ll tell you about mine.


  8. To think when workers are on the job like this, and they are in a year or so going to demand more raises, and the MTA wants us to pay more when there workers only work less go figure.


  9. Tom: do you have slackers on your job? Should you not get raises because of that? As you have pointed out in your other comment ridership is up! As Subwayblogger notes subways are cleaner than they used to be. There are alot less derailments because the tracks are constantly being repaired (due to track work this train will not be stopping at YOUR stop!)… So what do you think, we’re on the tracks while the Maid makes up our bed?
    The railroad ties that we’re using weigh hundreds of pounds more than the ones we used in the past. The rails are also heavier, more demand is being made of us, so we shouldn’t expect a raise? The last raises didn’t even keep up with the cost of living. If we weren’t doing our jobs BELIEVE me you would notice.
    I have to go to work now, sleep well and know that while you sleep the Subway is being repaired for your trip tommorow morning.


  10. So hold on a second last I checked though the MTA isn’t increasing service in fact in some places there actually looking to cut service… I am not doubting the fact workers want to get paid we all do. However, if some jerk is sleeping on the job, my taxes/subway fare is paying his salary by all means get him out…

    Hmm yeah I am sleeping on trains usually when there doing work on the tracks, considering all the time there doing work on the tracks. Have you been on the N/R tracks lately service is slower than a turtle….

    Lastly a fare hike is on the backs of New Yorkers, I don’t think a hike is “fair” maybe your union should ask the “EMPTA” had four years of budget surpluses, and now there crying poor….


  11. Yes, the MTA is always crying poverty. The TWU has always maintained the position that the fare not be raised. Raising the fare is just another form of tax on working people like you and I. Visit the TWU website We’re advocates for riders safety and for keeping booths open for your security. We believe other revenue sorces should be considered rather than fare hikes on the working poor. NYCT riders pay a larger portion of the cost of thier ride than any other mass transit system in the country.
    Mass transit is a benefit to more than just the people that ride the trains and busses. It reduces polution, traffic and is an economic plus for the landlords and stores located near transit stops. Rents for apartments and stores near subway and bus stops are higher. The landlord makes a higher profit, shouldn’t he help subsidise mass transit?
    Please know the TWU is not your enemy, and most transit workers are good workers who care about thier riders.


  12. Was at bergen street station this morning, and saw a couple of workers on the tracks. Just goes to show the dangers of doing that job. When we were on the train, the driver kept honking the horn and slowing down. It was so weird because i soo hate that sound, but yeah, those workers gotta be careful?


  13. Tom, you’re continually arguing against people making blanket statements about the performance of transit workers, but you’re also arguing for blanket raises.

    No, landlords should not subsidize mass transit. That’s a ridiculous suggestion.

    And transit fares are not a tax on working people. That’s as specious as claiming the price of milk is a tax on babies.

    If you weren’t a slacker and/or a hypocrite, you’d argue to disband the union and ask to be paid for performance and results like in any other business.

    The fact that such an arrangement cannot be profitably supported for most transit workers only highlights the fact that, for the most part, these positions constitute menial labor that isn’t worth the wages they’re being paid with the union.

    Under-worked and overpaid is right.


  14. Flibbert, I take it that your labor is not menial. Might I inquire what you do for a living?
    Landlords profit from mass transit, (Appt. for rent close to transportation.)Is this not a use of the system?
    When the Union went on strike, businesses were rightly crying that without mass transit they were losing money. Is this not a use of the system?
    As for the tax on working people, Most of our riders also do what you refer to as menial labor. They can’t afford the 90 dollars already being asked of them. Minimum wage does not go far in New York City.
    I also agree with Subwayblogger, how can you ask Police and Firefighters, to risk thier lives and then pay them considerably less than thier counterparts in the region.
    “Disband the Union”, “Ask for raises” this may work for you, but in an agency like NYCT, with 35,000 employees. I’d be retired before I ever got to speak to anyone about a raise.
    Without Unions fighting for raises and healthcare, do you think your employer would be offering you these things in the private sector? I don’t.
    SB, why are the comments turned off on the other topics?


  15. Tom, Yes I have been on the n/r tracks lately. Sorry about the slow service, I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would do a little work. Just kidding.


  16. Hey Flibbert, just visited your site, very interesting stuff.
    So I’m a hipocrite, lets discuss your “SUPER POWER” posted on 7/31/07.
    “I often take a 10 to 15 minute nap during my lunch break…” “My co-workers laugh at me because I just lean back in my chair and doze off, but more than one of them has expressed envy at my ability.”
    “Boring meetings will put me right to sleep. Because I can sleep sitting upright, it is a great struggle for me to remain concious during the billions of pointless, disorganized,meandering gatherings and presentations that confront me in my career.”
    Sounds like real important stuff your working on. I hope your boss dosen’t know how you feel about your job. Or that he’s paying you to sleep through all of his meetings.
    Everyone should check out this site, I recomend it.


  17. Tom,

    Don’t be a twit on top of everything else.

    My lunch break is my time and I’m not paid for it. Further, you are not aware of what arrangements I’ve made with my employer, while I am aware of the arrangements your union and your employer have made. You do not have the same privileges that I enjoy at my work, so the comparison would be invalid.

    As for my thoughts on bad meetings, I do make them clear to my boss and the people who “organize” them. And I do not sleep through meetings, although I sometimes struggle to stay away during the really bad ones. Again, my make my feelings about these meetings very clear.

    And in all cases, I get all of my work done and done very well. Unlike sleeping TWU employees who are supposed to be providing a watchful eye for the security of riders.

    If you’d like to discuss my work, feel free to comment on my site or write me an email directly, but it’s not germane to this discussion. This particular discussion is about your work and your job.

    “Landlords profit from mass transit, (Appt. for rent close to transportation.)Is this not a use of the system?” No, the landlord is not using the system, nor can you be sure that he even wants a subway line near his business or building. To charge building owner for being near a subway line would be akin to a protection racket.

    “When the Union went on strike, businesses were rightly crying that without mass transit they were losing money. Is this not a use of the system?” Businesses were losing money because they couldn’t use the system has fare-paying riders, nor could their customers, but not because business function depended on the subway. (Without the subway, we would find some other means of transportation to remain profitable.) By your logic, if you shut off the power to Connecticut and NYC business complained about losing business, you’d want to send NYC Connecticut’s electricity bill.

    “I’d be retired before I ever got to speak to anyone about a raise.” That’s crap, too. You don’t all talk to the same person about raises and you know it. If anything the fact that you think it would take that long to get an audience with your boss or the person responsible for such things illustrates how bloated the organization is with people who aren’t performing as they should.

    “Without Unions fighting for raises and healthcare, do you think your employer would be offering you these things in the private sector? I don’t.” Yes, in fact, I do. Given that the private sector has demonstrated its willingness to provide raises and benefits to employees (not out of kindness but out of profit-motive), your claim to the contrary is more than a little strange.

    Your meandering comments and dodgy arguments belie the fact that you can’t honestly deny the fact that these subway workers sleeping on the job are essentially stealing from those of us who pay taxes and pay our fares. It’s unacceptable. Unions only add to the troubles. You also have to know that there is a LOT of inefficiency and bloat in the MTA that must be addressed if the system is to be improved and ultimately survive.


  18. Oh! And don’t mistake me: I’m far less disgusted with the lower-tier workers than I am at the MTA leadership and administration. It’s their responsibility to run that system and I hold them ultimately accountable for its failures and shortcomings.


  19. Flibbert, It seems you can dish it out, but you can’t take it! O.K. I won’t talk about your “SUPER POWERS”. You’re the with the dodgy arguements, read books on the history of unions in this country, what rights workers had before they were formed. Put the Harry Potter down, start living in this world.
    And what the hell is with all the name calling, “BASTARD”,”IDIOT” and now “TWIT” I use my real name and I am not calling you by anything other than the name you chose to use.
    I get no respect I tell ya, no respect.


  20. I work for a prominent NYC landlord, and I had an opportunity to travel to the MTA offices and meet some executives. Wow. Talk about twits. In case anyone is wondering, the Special Olympics are being held all year round at the MTA headquarters–not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    That makes sense though. The MTA isn’t exactly the kind of company that’s going to attract the best and brightest business people. It is by no means a glamorous job.

    The assertion that landlords in proximity to transit stops subsidize the MTA is ludicrous. We already pay a premium for our location. Constant vibrations under and around my offices on Park Ave mean that we’re constantly replacing sidewalk pavers and we’re constantly venerable to trip and fall lawsuits.

    Oh, and have you ever noticed how it takes twice, sometimes three times longer for the MTA to complete a construction project than a private developer? We (landlords) all pay more thanks to the MTA’s inability to complete anything on schedule.

    “You’re the with the dodgy arguements, read books on the history of unions in this country, what rights workers had before they were formed.” Yes, it’s true that unions helped to improve working situations. That doesn’t mean what unions do is good or right. Unions have a bloody and violent history. They get what they want through brute mob force. I have no problem with workers organizing. In some cases, this makes the employer’s job easier. But unions lose their argument the moment they use force, and picketing a business and intimidating or stopping those who dare cross the line is an act of force.


  21. I’ll talk about my work, Tom, but only in the proper forum and in a context where such is relevant. This discussion is not about me, or my reading habits, but about the conduct of these union-protected, tax-payer funded slackers. You may or may not be one of said slackers, but if not I would beg to know why you defend them.

    Workers in the U.S. have always had the only right they need: to leave if they do not find working conditions and pay to their liking. The only thing unions have accomplish today is undermining the rights of employers to do the same to the detriment of the businesses and industries where they have become most prominent and influential.

    Some people are bastards, idiots, and twits, Tom. You yourself called our host, The Subway Blogger, an “@$$hole.” Further you make presumptions and imply things about my reading habits and life that are neither relevant to nor reflected in this discussion.

    While a base level of courtesy is to be granted to strangers, you’ve not demonstrated qualities that warrant anything more and your comments have been so erratic, uninformed, and even unjust that the only characteristic that I find tempers my disdain is your good humor.


  22. For clarity:

    The only thing unions accomplish today is undermining the rights of employers to do the same to the detriment of the businesses and industries where Unions have become most prominent and influential.


  23. Flibbert, SB called TWU members, which I am, BASTARDS, I took personal offence to this and called him an @$$hole. I selected not to spell it correctly, I really don’t like name calling. If we’re having an exchange of views, great! But lets keep it civil.
    Let me say this again, I AM NOT DEFENDING SLEEPING ON THE JOB.
    My position is that these individuals, do not represent the vast majority of hard working transit workers, so why slander all of us. And since none of us actualy know one another we’re all being a little presumptuous.
    I wish this guy in the picture would offer an explaination, maybe there is a reson, perhaps he didn’t intentionaly fall asleep, we will probably never know for sure.
    Sb’s comparision of salaries is a little amiss. Most of the jobs listed are not TWU represented employees. I will be happy to furnish him with our pay scales. SB e-mail me.
    Also, compare apples to apples. Rookies starting pay at transit are 70% of pay increasing 10% per year. Average base pay is approx. 45,000 – 65,000. Not all titles are unskilled. We have Ironworkers, Plumbers, Carpenters, Tinsmiths, Machinists, Mechanics, Electricians, Heavy Equiptment Operators and many more positions that in the private sector earn more than the $27.6775 per hour these jobs pay. Night and weekend bonus is $1.4953 p/h from 10 pm – 6 am and Saturday and Sunday. All told a senior worker can make decent money if he’s willing to work lots of overtime. Thanks for thinking I have a good sence of humor, I like to think so too.


  24. Todd, I will not disagree with you when it comes to your assesment of MTA headquarters. Yes, unions do have a bloody and violent past, so has the Civil Rights Movement. Fredrick Douglas said “Power conceeds nothing without demand”. This is still true today. Sometimes it is ne


  25. Todd, I will not disagree with you when it comes to your assesment of MTA headquarters. Yes, unions do have a bloody and violent past, so has the Civil Rights Movement. Fredrick Douglas said “Power conceeds nothing without demand”. This is still true today. Sometimes it is necessary to break the law if the law is unjust. In the case of the 2005 strike, The MTA Chairman didn’t even show up to the negotiations untill 40 min. before the contract deadline. Then he demands concessions of our pension which is a violation of the same TAYLOR LAW. Thinking the TWU wouldn’t strike, and would back down under pressure giving him a stronger bargaining position. Well he was wrong, all city unions were counting on us to get a good raise, because of the city’s pattern bargaining policy. A raise for us will mean raises for them. We did not get all that we we asked for, but we fought for all that we get.


  26. Tom, SB didn’t call all TWU people bastards. He said, “I’m a little nauseous now after seeing all those TWU bastards sleeping on the job.”

    That sentence is rather clearly directed at the people who were sleeping on the job and not every single TWU member. This is even more clear when you look at the statement that follows:

    “They should be stripped of the union raise that is just handed to them, and it should be given to other workers that actually manage to stay AWAKE during their shift.”

    “They” are obviously the ones caught sleeping and not the ones who do good work.

    But you responded to that calling SB an asshole. (We all know you meant “asshole” and that juvenile substitution of symbols doesn’t soften the blow or mean that you didn’t call him a name.) And then you’ve gone on about how good the TWU is. The TWU is the same organization that got those guys a raise and it’s the same organization that keeps those workers who do better work from being paid more and the slackers from being paid less. So, the only logical conclusion that we can draw is that you do, in fact, defend these people and think that they are worth the money they’re being paid.

    Sure, all of those people may have had some really, really good reasons for sleeping on the job and, really, that isn’t the absolute worst thing they could have done, but we all agree that it’s unacceptable. Perhaps we even agree that they should be punished (Do you get citations or demerits or something?) for the lapse.

    But then you put these numerous examples of sleeping in the context of the subway system which could stand VAST improvement in terms of service, cleanliness, and security and there is a legitimate complaint here from riders and tax-payers alike. This complaint is exacerbated by fare hikes, strikes, and realizations that other city employees like police and firefighters are paid far less.

    Although we all here may agree that ultimate responsibility for the subway lies with management, the fact is that everyone in the organization contributes to its success or failure. You won’t gain any supporters by giving the appearance of defending or justifying failures large or small at any level of the organization.


  27. Point taken, I apologize for the name calling.
    Yes, TWU members do get punished for even the smallest infractions, in 2004 there were over 17,000 disciplines out of a work force of 35,000. I don’t know exactly how many people had multiple write-ups, but thats alot of write-ups for any organization, don’t you think?
    I guess my major peev is TWU members are called Bastards or Thugs by the Mayor and just about everyone else. Where is the recognition for our contributions to this city. You have “THE FINEST”, “THE BRAVEST”, “THE BOLDEST”, “THE STRONGEST” and then “THOSE BASTARDS”, forgive me for being defensive.


  28. Please, if a politician calls you a mean name, you should probably take it as a compliment.

    17,000 write-ups is a lot, but I have no way of telling whether or not that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If those people were not doing their jobs, then a write-up is probably the least responsible action that should be taken by their supervisor. If all of those write-ups are warranted, then it would support the argument that the organization is bloated with incompetence or negligence. I only hope those people photographed sleeping on the job got some kind of slap on the wrist at least.

    Coming up with all these superlatives is more than a little silly to me, especially when it comes to calling the Trash Collectors THE STRONGEST. And calling corrections officers “The Boldest” is just confusing. It’s nothing more than a marketing ploy that will succeed in nothing but making “NY’s Finest” and “NY’s Bravest” less meaningful.

    If you had to pick an EST to be called by the mayor or anyone else, what do you think is the most appropriate for transit workers?


  29. Todd, I will not disagree with you when it comes to your assesment of MTA headquarters

    Wait, what? I think you’re responding to the wrong person.


  30. Tired-est, Sleepiest, JUST KIDDING. I don’t know if we really need an est, but we certainly don’t like being called bastards.


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