Union Crane Operators At Ground Zero Paid Up to $400K Each For No Work…

Crane workers collect up to $400K a year each for dozens of phantom jobs at Ground Zero site
EDITORIALS | New York Daily News
May 8, 2011

It’s a pretty sweet gig if you’re guaranteed $400,000 a year for hanging around and doing no work – and it’s a flaming outrage if you’re getting fat like that on the backs of the taxpayers.

Which is what some members of Locals 14 and 15 of the operating engineers are spectacularly doing on large construction sites across the city. Boiled down to the essence, a typical clause of their contracts reads:

Show up. Punch in. Walk around. Punch out. Collect 400Gs, plus a generous pension, plus an even more generous retirement annuity.

The operating engineers have jurisdiction over the heavy machinery that moves material on big projects. The multibillion-dollar reconstruction at Ground Zero is their biggest job today – and their biggest ripoff.

The Port Authority will spend $100 million over the course of three years paying through the nose for these no-work sinecures and other featherbedded positions, according to an analysis by the Real Estate Board of New York.

The two locals have documented histories of domination by organized crime. They also have the muscle to bring a high-rise construction project to a halt because nothing goes on without running cranes and hoists.

Applying that power, the locals have not only wrung huge compensation packages out of contractors, they have also preserved job titles that are obsolete thanks to advances in crane design. The Daily News reports today, for example, that 56 of 204 Local 14 and Local 15 members at the Trade Center held no-work jobs.

Read more @ New York Daily News.

Read NY Daily News’ No-work and all pay at Ground Zero as rebuilding costs up $96 million under lax union rules

Photo Credit.


  1. the people writing these articles are hearing one side of the story the same contractors complaining about run up costs of project have more than 100 non productive employees walking the same job site between super attendants project managers project executives safety people assistants to super attendants interns and most of who have nothing to do but walk around do no work and watch the guys who actually do the work. If all of these people gave back company cars bonus paid vacations and sick day the tax payers would save about 90 million in three years. What they are not saying is that every operating engineer has a function and a job to do and foundations and buildings do not get built without their expertise there is almost 1 person in management for every 3 workers on this job site for all trades but if all the trades stayed home for 1 week and all the management went to work let us see what work would be completed and bringing people in this city with national licenses would create an immediate danger to the public and other workers because most operators with a national license have no experience in a fast paced city like new york. If you see a non union job there is 1 person maybe 3 at most overseeing at least 60 people. Every union trade has a shop steward on site taking care of the unions members and making sure contracts and working conditions are followed but i doubt most could jump in the seat of a crane and operate it if necessary or repair any machine at any time to keep the job going

  2. Anyone who knows anything about I.U.O.E. Locals 14 and 15 knows that the author of this article doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about! The call by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and other anti-union groups for “national licensing” has nothing to do with safety (Crane operators in NYC are already licensed by the New York City Department of Buildings), and everything to do with union busting. By giving a forum to an anti-union liar like Steven Spinola (Who is the President of REBNY), the New York Daily News is proving itself to be an anti-union yellow rag of a newspaper!

    By the way, those recent accidents in Manhattan, which resulted in the deaths of Wayne Bliedner and Donald Leo, two members of I.U.O.E. Local 14, were caused by faulty equipment/rigging, not by operator error. Spinola knows this, but instead of questioning the business practices of the owner of those cranes, he decided to use these accidents as subterfuge to push for the elimination the NYC DOB Hoist Machine Operator license, which will greatly weaken the crane operator’s union by causing an influx of non-union crane operators from out of state. Spinola and his anti-union cohorts don’t care about the extraordinary skill of union crane operators and Local 14’s exemplary safety record. All they care about is the additional money they will make if they successfully bust the crane operator’s union.

  3. I have never been to NYC but I’ve operated cranes in Minnesota for twentyeight years as a member of iuoe local 49. Out here you prove up and make the cut or you will be run off immediately. I work 2000+ hrs a year and have never made more than 95000 a year. My crane works at 25 below or 100above my employer insists on this after all company reputation rests on my shoulders.there are a hundred operators that can take my place tomorrow I have more responsibility than anyone on that site.someone with a chip on their shoulders might feel a little resentment towards a crane operator. Next time you east coast dinks need some salacious b.s. to print for sales purposes go talk to an iron worker about operators.the I.w.e’s life is in our hands bet he will give you an accurate account.Quit ripping my union brothers in n.y. locals


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