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NYC Subway Drivers At Odds With Management Over Reducing Train Deaths

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 02:34 PM

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady) Leaders of the NYC subway's largest union are urging members who drive trains to enter stations at 10 mph, considerably slower than normal operating procedure, to allow more time to brake and avoid hitting a rider on the tracks.

(See flyer above, which uses NY MTA parlance in referring to subway deaths as 12-9s.)

The NY MTA, for its part, is characterizing the slower driving as an illegal job action that places the union, TWU Local 100, in danger of losing its right to collect dues from its members automatically. An authority spokesman also said a driver "could lose up to two days' pay" each time he follows the union's prompt to slow his train down when entering a station.

The union, in a letter to NYC Transit president Tom Prendergast, said slowing to 10 m.p.h. is necessary because the authority's effort to reduce subway deaths "by posting signs encouraging riders to stand back from the edge of the platform has not had an measurable effect on subway deaths."

The union is also recommending that the authority install customer-activated safety warning lights on subway platforms, add power cut-off switches to station booths and launch a public competition to improve platform safety.

Members of the union's train operator division will be meeting Wednesday to discuss those measures, and the NY MTA's reaction to them, which union spokesman Jim Gannon called, "very negative and threatening."

More soon.

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