New York City. You either love it or hate it. It's a big city. It's tough. It never sleeps.
Like their city, New Yorkers are hip, they're trendy and, all too often, they can be rather rude and rudeness...well, you know...rudeness can sometimes lead to bad behavior.
The Transport Workers' Union, which represents New York City's bus drivers has negotiated a unique benefit for its members who encounter particularly rude riders, especially those passengers prone to hocking loogies:
A bizarre policy has allowed city bus drivers to land an average of two months paid time off -- with one staying at home for more than half a year -- every time a rider spits on them.
The outrageous arrangement comes courtesy of TWU Local 100's strong union contract and the willingness of MTA officials to categorize spitting incidents as "assaults" -- even though the state penal code doesn't.
Of the 153 bus drivers who took time off because of assaults last year, 51 -- one-third -- did so solely because a disgusting rider decided to spew his frustrations, MTA officials said at a committee hearing yesterday.
And they averaged a whopping 64 days of paid time off for each incident, the officials said.
The number of days off ranged from a single mental-health day for some drivers to the 191-day debacle, the agency said.
When an MTA bus driver reports a spitting incident, an agency team responds to the scene with a cleanup kit.
Some drivers just continue on their way afterward, and some are taken off in ambulances if there's fear of a health risk, Smith said.
Drivers need to get a note from their family doctor to get the free days -- and there isn't a limit to how much "assault time" they can take.
Many claim to have posttraumatic stress disorder. [Emphasis added.]
Despite an exhaustive search, there's no information available for what happens when a driver encounters pigeon poop.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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