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Union claims assaults against NYC subway transit workers are up by 40% through first eight months of the year


A city transit worker is assaulted roughly once every three days in New York’s subway and bus system, with the number of incidents up 40% from last year across the first eight months of 2019, union officials said Wednesday.

Tony Utano, head of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said the statistics were culled from MTA data and showed 83 assaults between Jan. 1 and the end of August — an increase from 61 over the same time period in 2018.

“No other employer on the planet would tolerate such horrific abuse of its workers,” said Utano. “Where is the MTA leadership? Where is Chairman Patrick Foye? You don’t hear a peep out of this guy. These are their numbers. Their silence just reinforces the feeling among the transit workers that the MTA and Foye don’t care about their safety."

In June, for example, a 59-year-old transit employee was punched in the face in an unprovoked attack inside the 145th St. station in Manhattan. Two months earlier, a pair of women workers were doused with urine in separate incidents involving the same assailant. Around the same time, a conductor was stabbed four times in the shoulder and abdomen by a deranged man in the 148th St.-Grand Concourse station in the Bronx.

MTA communications director Tim Minton responded that assaults on subway workers were “a real concern” that the agency was addressing.

“Governor Cuomo and the MTA, along with the NYPD, announced an initiative to increase security in the subways, including the adding of 500 uniformed MTA police officers,” said Minton. “And Transit President Andy Byford personally met this month with Manhattan DA Cy Vance to work towards more aggressive prosecution of, and maximum sentences for, perpetrators.”

The agency was additionally addressing fare evasion and the homeless taking up residence in the subways, he added.

An MTA “Lost Time Accident Report” revealed the uptick in assaults, one of several categories to explain the absence of employees for some period of time, the union said.