MTA Workers Disrupt Service Over Subway Attack

11 Mar, 2024 Liz Carey

                               

New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) – Workers with the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City responded to an attack that injured a train conductor by stopping work and disrupting subway service on Thursday.

The transit workers were responding to a slashing that occurred in the early morning hours on the A train in Brooklyn. During morning rush hours, workers held a job action by declining to fulfill their assigned jobs which disrupted service, two transit officials told the New York Post.

Union leaders said the transit workers and union representatives had submitted safety forms following the attack which caused the delays. The service disruption took about 90 minutes and left riders scrambling for other train lines and buses, resulting in a ripple effect of other delays.

“We’re running as much service as we can with the train crews we have available,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote in a Thursday morning service alert.

One of the major concerns workers and union officials had, the union leaders said, was a lack of police presence in the subway station following the Brooklyn attack.

Police said the MTA conductor, Alton Scott, was sticking his head out of the train cab window to look left and right when the attacker suddenly slashed him with an unknown object. Scott, 59, was taken to Brookdale Hospital Medical Center where he received 34 stitches and an additional nine sutures to close the wound.

Senior vice president of subways at the MTA said transit passengers aided Scott after the attack.

“This is a cowardly act,” Mr. Crichlow said at a news conference Thursday. “There is no circumstance where an employee who is just doing his job should have to deal with this.”

Transit Workers Union leaders decried the attack on Scott.

“This is attempted murder,” TWU President Richard Davis said in a statement. “The wound to Mr. Scott’s neck is too close to his carotid artery. We’re at a breaking point where we can’t do our jobs safely.”

Davis asked that the MTA’s police force of 1,000 officers be immediately deployed.

“We’re facing heinous crimes and brutal assaults. Enough is enough,” Davis said.

The attack added fuel to the fire of complaints that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency the operates the transit system, has not done enough to ensure workers are safe.

It was not the first assault on transit workers in recent weeks. So far, seven transit workers have been injured this year. On Valentine’s Day, a station agent’s was injured when a man followed her down a platform and punched her. She suffered a fractured eye socket. In another attack, a conductor was assaulted with a tennis ball and hit in the face.

In a news release, Richard Davis, the president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, said employees were deeply concerned about their safety. “We need better protection now, before we lose one of our own.”

Davis said MTA leadership was failing to protect transit workers.

"The law is clear: our safety is in the hands of our employer. But we need better protection now, before we lose one of our own,” Davis said. “We're at a breaking point where we can't do our jobs safely. The city is in crisis, and the target is on our backs.”

In February, Mayor Eric Adams approved NYPD overtime spending with 1,000 additional officers assigned to the subway each day. The new deployment came after an uptick in major crimes in the subway in January – 221 crimes in 2024, up from 152 in 2023, a 45.4 percent increase. The subway system is typically patrolled by the NYPD, with MTA police officers patrolling suburban commuter railroad stations.

At the MTA’s Wednesday board meeting, prior to Scott’s attack, MTA chair and chief executive Janno Lieber called the violence in the subways “truly despicable.” Lieber said that of the 43 people arrested in 2023 for the 60 assaults on transit workers, only 11 were indicted.

“We cannot let this endless cycle of violence against the workforce continue; we need our partners in criminal justice to take action,” Lieber said. “There is way, way too much at stake: safety for our workers but also because of the importance of our system to the city and the region. We cannot allow the perception of safety, or the lack of it, to scare people away.”


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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