UPDATE: Judge Calls for Testimony in TWU’s Suit v. MTA Over Elimination of Station Agent Lunch Relief Positions; Adjourns Hearing Until Friday

At today's hearing, Attorney Arthur Schwartz (center) represented the Union. Judge Perry is at the top of the screen.
At today's hearing, Attorney Arthur Schwartz (center) represented the Union. Judge Perry is at the top of the screen.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 12 -- NYS Supreme Court Judge Franc Perry will accept testimony on Friday (Jan. 15, 2021) over TWU’s lawsuit to block the MTA from eliminating lunch relief positions in more than 400 Stations across the City.

The union was prepared with testimony at this morning’s hearing (Jan. 12, 2021) before Judge Perry, but the MTA was not.  The Judge said he needed more information regarding the “inner workings” of the MTA before rendering his decision

The MTA claimed at the hearing that the lunch relief positions are not being eliminated, rather the Authority is “reallocating” its Station Agent workforce.  The MTA’s attorney also said that riders who need the services of a Station Agent at closed booths during lunch breaks would just have to wait for the Agent’s return, and that it will only cause a “small inconvenience.”

TWU Attorney Arthur Schwartz argued that the MTA’s position is false; that the positions are being eliminated, and that the closure of station booths for lunch reliefs is a violation of the Public Authorities Law, in that the MTA has taken unilateral action affecting communities in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn without conducting the required hearings. Schwartz said that “the Station Agent head count is down by around 185 jobs due to attrition, which is why lunch relief jobs are being eliminated.” In response to the union’s argument, the Judge said: “If Mr. Schwartz is correct that the jobs have been eliminated, then the Transit Authority has violated the law.”

In a partial, yet very important victory for the union, the MTA shelved its plan to shutter 20 full time booths, and convert 7 additional full-time booths to part-time booths, admitting that public hearings for such a move needed to be held in the affected communities.

Friday’s hearing will be conducted via Microsoft TEAMS at 10:00am. We will provide a link to Friday’s hearing as soon as the court provides it.