By SARAH DORSEY | Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 5:00 pm
Brian De Freitas thought he was doing the right thing by applying for a promotion. For nearly 19 years, he’d served the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a Bus Operator, climbing the ranks until he made roughly $70,000 a year in base pay. Sometimes he’d get overtime to supplement his income, when the depot was short a man or extra help was needed.
The pay was enough to provide for his son, then 6 years old, and his wife, who suffered from post-partum cardiomyopathy. Her treatment for that condition—a serious heart problem—made working difficult. But with Mr. De Freitas’s salary, they were able to afford their apartment in The Bronx in Co-Op City.
Promotion Meant $15G Cut
Then in 2008, Mr. De Freitas got his promotion to Dispatcher, a supervisory title that required transferring to a new union, Transport Workers Union Local 106. It seemed like a promising first step up the ladder.
But owing to a strange quirk in the MTA pay scale—and Local 106’s bad fortune in contract negotiations—the promotion also entailed a major step down in pay: his base salary would now be just $55,000.