Subways' 'Most Vulnerable' Seek Assembly's Help

Delgado suffered bruising and swelling, and a pinched neck nerve, according to the police complaint. She also hurt her thumb pulling the door to the supply room closed, she said.

The assailant fled but was later charged by police with misdemeanor assault. Prosecutors have offered a slap-on-the-wrist plea deal: seven days community service and an order to stay away from Delgado.

Under state law, you can be charged with a felony punishable by years in prison if you assault a station agent, a subway conductor, a train operator or bus operator. The Legislature granted that “special protected status” more than a decade ago. The goal remains the same - to deter attacks on these important public sector workers, and to allow authorities to impose stiff penalties on those who aren’t deterred. Such status was first granted to police officers and firefighters. It has since been expanded to include traffic agents, nurses, paramedics and station agents.

But cleaners have been left out there all by themselves without even the deterrent threat of a punishment greater than picking up litter in the park for a few days to protect them.

TWU Local 100 has tried for years to get cleaners added to the assault bill – and the state Senate passed the necessary legislation just last week. It would be an insult to the men and women who clean the subway if the Assembly didn’t follow suit before going home for the summer.