Transit Workers Deserve Good Raises

Signal Helper Monique Brathwaite in Harlem Hospital
Signal Helper Monique Brathwaite in Harlem Hospital

* Harold Dozier was killed by a B train near the Newkirk Ave. station in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, in December 2004.

* Daniel Boggs was killed by a No. 3 train at the Columbus Circle station in Manhattan in April 2007.

* Marvin Franklin killed by a G train in Hoyt-Schermerhorn station in Brooklyn in April 2007.

* Bus Operator Edwin Thomas was stabbed to death in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, by an ex-con who didn’t want to pay the fare in December 2008.

* James Knell was electrocuted by the third rail on the A line near the Beach 90th St. station in Rockaway Beach, Queens, in April 2010.

* Louis Moore was killed by an E train near the 46th St. station in Woodside, Queens, in April 2013.

*  Bus Operator William Pena was killed when a drunk driver in a stolen truck slammed into his bus in Chelsea, Manhattan, in February 2014.

Brathwaite was a junior member of a signal repair crew that was sent one morning to fix a piece of faulty equipment in a tunnel on the No. 1 line so riders could get to their destinations. The group had completed their task and was heading back to the nearest station – 145th St. in Harlem – when Brathwaite stumbled. She had been on the job just seven months.

“It’s very dark down there in the hole,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said, using a term subway workers use for the network of tunnels beneath the city.  “It’s a uniquely dangerous industrial environment where workers have to contend with both the live third rail and live train traffic. No one else in the city - or state for that matter - have jobs like this.” For every fatal transit accident, there are scores of transit workers who are injured every year hauling rails, jackhammering concrete, hauling trash, driving all day and other tasks. Contract talks are coming. TWU Local 100 will hold a rally outside MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway on Nov. 15th to mark the start of negotiations. Transit workers deserve good post-recession raises – certainly raises better than the 2% one group of state workers recently obtained. Anyone who disagrees should explain themselves to workers like Monique, and to the friends, co-workers and surviving relatives of fallen transit workers like Samuel McPhaul, Christopher Bonaparte, Joy Anthony, Kurien Baby, Janell Bennerson, Harold Dozier, Danny Boggs, Marvin Franklin, Edwin Thomas, James Knell, Louis Moore and William Pena.

(Please donate to the GoFundMe account established to help Monique Brathwaite and her family with expenses: