The Truth About Subway Cleaning

NYCT officials informed Local 100 leadership in December that it was hiring private companies for a pilot program to “deep clean” up 100 subway stations under the Subway Action Plan. Since these companies would use new equipment and products, NYCT claimed this was not a contract violation. 

Local 100 could have filed a legal challenge with an arbitrator – but that has risks.
If the arbitrator ruled against us, NYCT could forever use private companies to do this “deep cleaning.” So, Local 100 opted to negotiate a legally binding agreement that permits a one-time pilot program. In exchange, Local 100 secured some immediate and long-term gains, including: 
Local 100 cleaners are being paid to observe the private company employees “for the purposes of training and development, beginning with the Mobile Wash cleaners.” The MTA and union “will have further discussions regarding phasing in training for the remaining cleaners.”


Local 100 cleaners will maintain the level of cleanliness after the pilot: “the work performed by the contractors will establish a baseline of cleanliness that Authority Cleaners in the Stations Department will then maintain.” 

Language in the agreement that now gives Local 100 a far stronger hand if NYCT tries to use private companies in the future for cleaning, including: “The Authority recognizes the Union’s position that the scope of work is the traditional and exclusive work of the Union, which the Authority is not contesting.” 

Pressure from Local 100 also forced transit officials to also state publicly at an MTA committee meeting that Local 100 is not losing any work.
Lets’ go to the videotape: Both statements from NYCT President Byford and Acting MTA Chair Ferrer are available on our YouTube channel.
IB ImageByford said the following at the Jan. 22nd NYC Transit committee meeting:
“I’m very proud of our transit cleaners...and ultimately this is their work. There’s no question here... We’re not taking that work away. What we’re doing is embracing or capturing, harnessing if you will, the skills and methodologies, the processes and products that private sector contractors can bring, from which we can learn.
The idea being that there will be an intense deep cleaning of both 100 stations and 3,000 cars to get them up to a better base level, and at that point, then our own forces can take over and maintain at a higher level.”
Fernando Ferrer, Acting MTA Board Chairman, said:
“Once this is done, (the work will be) given right back to the workers who work with us every day and are responsible for this among many other things in our subway system.”