TWU Fighting Back

The posters have generated some tips, and the police are actively investigating them. The posters also might be deterring at least some people from assaulting transit workers. That’s what NYPD Transit Bureau brass said during an extensive meeting Local 100 President Tony Utano and his administration recently held at 130 Livingston St.  The meeting was prompted by Local 100’s public and back-channel complaints about police response times and visibility. “They ('Most Wanted' posters) are everywhere,” one police supervisor said at the mini-summit, which included new Transit Bureau Chief Edward Delatorre. The chief brought with him the commanding officers of the bureau’s 12 subway Transit Districts.

Delatorre told Utano that he fully understands the seriousness of these crimes. His parents were transit workers. His father worked in Car Equipment. His mother was a Station Agent who was assaulted on more than one occasion. He told Local 100’s administration that he is directing police officers who are involved in a Community Policing strategy in the subway to introduce themselves to workers in crew rooms and stations, and provide them with contact information, including the officers’ on-duty cell phone numbers. Officials also discussed posting inside conductors’ cabs the locations of Transit Bureau district offices (essentially underground police precincts where there are always police officers present).

The union also is boosting the reward for information in the A-train assault. Crime Stoppers is offering its maximum reward: $2,500. Local 100 is going to match that amount.
Utano and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez just recorded a public service announcement urging bus and subway riders to provide crime tips, and warning would-be attackers that they could get convicted of a felony. It’s now airing on 1010 WINS radio. No one is naïve enough to suggest worker assaults will be completely eliminated. The subway and bus system isn’t going to be transformed into Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Local 100 members move nearly 8 million people a day. If you conservatively estimate that one percent are unhinged nut-jobs, then you’re talking about a crowd that would fill Madison Square Garden – three times. But Local 100 is fighting back and will have a positive impact.