Saturday, December 4, 2010

The DC Metro "Pick" system

Here's perhaps a little insight into the real reason [Washington D.C.] Metro just can't seem to get their act together with escalators.

According to a source intimately familiar with Metro's escalators, twice a year, Metro maintenance personnel bid on the escalators for which they’ll be responsible. Workers with the most seniority get the first choices. ...

As WMATA’s labor force is drawn from a union base, the ability to implement modification of the “Pick” system would require negotiations with the appropriate union representatives. ...

The source said it’s very common for someone with seniority to bid on escalators they know to be well maintained so they can slide and and not do anything for the six months it's under their "care."

“They can coast for a while,” the source said. “Then when problems start, they can move on,” leaving an ailing escalator under the supervision of someone with less experience.

This way of doing things, the source said, "destroys the incentive" of the younger workers who know that if they do a good job, their escalators will be taken away by someone with more seniority.

“There’s a culture in which you don’t really have to perform to keep your job,” they said.
--Unsuck DC Metro on perverse seniority privileges. HT: Marginal Revolution

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