ALBANY, August 19 – NY Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed into law a bill that fulfills a key objective of Local 100 – increasing penalties for any assault on a MTA/NYCT Station or Terminal Cleaner.
“Subway cleaners have been the victims of unprovoked, unwarranted and unacceptable attacks while working among the 6 million daily riders,” said President John Samuelsen. “This bill, which we fought long and hard for, gives them protection. The tougher penalties should deter anyone from harming a subway cleaner. If they don’t, police, prosecutors and judges should seek the maximum sentence.”
The Governor said: "These workers perform tasks that are vital to the operation of New York institutions and have increasingly become the targets of aggression and assaults. Signing these measures into law will help better protect these employees from harm and I thank the sponsors for their work to get them passed.”
TWU mounted a sustained political effort highlighted by a dedicated lobby day on May 24 in which rank and file Cleaners got on the bus to personally make their case to legislators. Several assaults on transit cleaners have highlighted the dangers facing them on a daily basis – especially women who work alone on platforms late at night. Many who attended used their own personal time. Multiple titles from Stations were represented, including RRSW’s, S/A’s and of course CTA’s. The trip and overall lobbying effort was organized by TWU’s Political Action Director, Marvin Holland, and his able staff.
Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson, (at left) who spearheaded the legislation in the Assembly, said, “I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in protecting the rights of our hardworking brothers and sisters in New York State. No employee should have to work facing the threat of assault and this legislation will help ensure a hardworking and dedicated part of our workforce is properly protected under the law. I am proud to stand with the Governor on this issue and thank him for signing this important piece of legislation.”
Senator Kevin Parker said, “I enthusiastically applaud Governor Cuomo for signing my legislation, Senate Bill S. 8104-A, into law as the passage of this bill increases the penalty for assaulting our MTA station and terminal workers to a class D felony. Although laws were enacted in 2002 to protect and deter assaults on transit employees while performing their duties, the law did not include station and terminal workers. Today, thanks to Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature, station and terminal workers will be added to the list of covered MTA employees. I am extremely proud to be a part of this milestone achievement and I stand eager to continue working with the Governor and Legislature to pass laws that improve the quality of life of New York State residents.”