Transit workers vow subway slowdown

By Philip Newman

In the aftermath of several recent subway fatalities, motormen have been advised by their union to slow down on approaches to train stations, but transit officials suggest it is more of a labor negotiations tactic than a safety first campaign.

The contract between the 35,000 members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expired a year ago and negotiations are still going on.

Fliers were handed out by union officials to subway personnel during the past weekend advising motormen to hit the brakes as they enter stations by reducing speed from 30 mph to 10 mph.

“Blow your horn, slow down and proceed with caution,” the literature advised, adding that slowing on approach to stations could help prevent deaths on subway tracks.

Two people were killed when they were shoved into trackbeds in Manhattan and Queens last month, according to police.

In e-mails, the MTA took issue with the union suggestions.

“Any slowdowns in the system which results from this activity may be considered a job action,” said Christopher Johnson, MTA vice president of labor relations.

“Cease posting these unauthorized notices,” Johnson said.

The Taylor Law makes strikes or slowdowns by transit workers illegal and their union could be heavily fined as it was following the 2005 strike by Local 100.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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