Night metro service will resume due to cleaning issues
As New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) prepares for resume the metro service 24/7 on May 17, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo praised the cleanliness of cars during the pandemic. However, the Union of transit workers worried about staff shortage Keeping subway cars clean around the clock will be difficult, reports The City.
Representatives from Local 100 of the transport workers union told the city the MTA cleanup crew was down almost 9% from January 2019 due to a freeze on hires, departures retirement and leave stimulated by COVID-19. MTA employed 878 car cleaners in February, 80 fewer than two years ago, according to reports obtained by The City. The contracts the MTA made with private cleaning companies at the start of the pandemic are expected to expire on July 1, 2021, leaving the agency to rely only on its employees.
The union believes that MTA users may be exposed to a “wave of filth” as the number of users increases.
“Mayor [Bill de Blasio] is talking about a 100% reopening of the city and there is no question of hiring cleaners, ”said Matt Ahern, president of the automotive equipment union division. “It’s ridiculous, especially with the return of the night shift.”
MTA spokesperson Meredith Daniels told The City the agency has worked with its labor partners to extend cleaning contractors’ agreements. “We will continue to make sure the system is as clean as it needs to be for the runners,” she said.