“Spit Assault” Gets N.Y. Bus Drivers Months Of Paid Leave
MAY 26, 2010
In a bizarre example of government waste, a major U.S. city with a $400 million transit budget shortfall allows public bus drivers to take months of paid leave every time a rider spits on them.
Thanks to a contract negotiated by the
In some cases drivers have taken more than half a year off with pay over a spitting incident. This is possible because their contract allows them to take unlimited “assault time” with full pay. When a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver reports a spitting incident, an agency team responds to the scene as if it were a dire emergency.
While some drivers get back to work immediately, many engage in theater by getting whisked away in ambulances. The drama is justified because there may be health risks caused by the saliva of an unidentified person, according to the MTA’s bus chief. This can also have a damaging emotional impact on drivers which is why many claim to have posttraumatic stress disorder after getting spat on.
About one-third of the 153 assaults on
Acknowledging that getting spit on is no fun, a New York MTA board member counters that the drivers should be able to “go home, shower up and take the day off or the next day off.” Instead, the recovery time is getting strung out for months. And it’s costing taxpayers a lot of money.
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