Prominent NYC Labor Leaders Write Mayor to Request More Police on the Subways
“Our members no longer feel safe,” prominent New York City labor leaders wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday, as they called for an increased police presence on the subways, at least in the short term. “The city needs to protect its everyday heroes.”
The heroes are the thousands of workers who rely on public transit to get to their jobs, which labor leaders pointed out, are the kind of jobs that kept the city running and all New Yorkers fed, safe, and transported throughout the pandemic: 24 hours a day.
Grocery store employees, retail workers, city employees, and, transit workers, who have been particularly vulnerable in the recent spate of violent subway attacks, all report that they do not feel safe on the subways, especially at night.
Mario Cilento of the New York AFL-CIO, Vincent Alvarez of the NYC Central Labor Council, District Council 37 President Henry Garrido, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum, and others who signed the letter, are echoing for what Sarah Elizabeth Feinberg, the Interim President of the New York City Transit Authority and the TWU Local 100, the largest transit union in the city, have been pushing for some time, which is more cops on the subway.
“Stationing cops at the turnstiles helps no one,” the labor leaders wrote. “We need extra police who are actually visible to riders to help deter crime.”
The union leaders said that additional police officers should be stationed at “the places where assaults, robberies and other incidents happen.”
Although the NYPD report that the subway crime rates fell in March compared to February, subway crime remains far higher than it did before pandemic, while ridership still remains lower.
“The reality is, right now many of our members don’t feel safe riding or working in mass transit,” wrote the labor leaders, who called the current rate of crime on subways, “unacceptable.”
“No one should be afraid to use these basic transit services, especially the heroic women and men in our ranks, who have sacrificed so much to keep the city going during one of its darkest hours,” the letter continued. “[New York City workers] have been riding day in and day out, and they deserve better.”