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Vol. 74/No. 33      August 30, 2010

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N.Y. Transit workers protest
layoffs of 200 station agents
Militant/Ruth Robinett
Members and supporters of Transport Workers Union Local 100 protest layoffs August 13 outside Metropolitan Transit Authority training center in Brooklyn, New York.

BROOKLYN, New York—Some 200 laid-off New York subway station agents, members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, turned in their badges and other company property August 13 at the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) training school here. The day before was their last day on the job.

About 50 union members and supporters held a protest against the layoffs outside the training facility. The laid-off station agents staffed subway booths selling fare cards, providing information, and distributing maps. Nine hundred bus drivers, subway cleaners, and mechanics have already been laid off.

In June the MTA eliminated 38 bus routes and two subway lines. They also reduced service on 11 subway lines and 76 bus routes. The MTA says the cuts are necessary to close its budget gap.

“What the MTA is doing is dangerous and criminal,” said Deo Bairon, who participated in the action. “They are replacing us with cameras.” He said that 260 station agents were laid off on May 11 and their booths closed. In many subway stations the booths are being bricked over.

“The reduction in bus service not only means layoffs, but affects the riding public who now have to walk long distances,” said Charles Jenkins, the union’s director of organizing.

“Our union is organizing with the AFL-CIO and NAACP to march on Washington October 2 to demand a real jobs program to address unemployment. Unemployment benefits are running out,” Jenkins said.

George Wayne, a construction worker at a nearby school, came to the protest before he started work. “We need to change the system, which only serves the rich,” he said.

Dan Fein is the Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York governor.
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