Transit Workers Union Sues MTA for Refusing to Display Ad Highlighting How Often Transit Workers Are Assaulted

MTA Workers Assault Conference

From New York Daily News:

By Graham Rayman

The union representing transit workers slapped the MTA on Monday with a federal lawsuit for blocking bus and subway ads with graphic images highlighting how often they are assaulted on the job, the Daily News has learned.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 claims the MTA’s refusal to sell the advertising space violates the free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The ads are part of Local 100’s campaign to secure raises for the 38,000 men and women who operate and maintain the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bus and subway system.

“We want the public to have a better understanding of what it’s like to be a transit worker,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said.

“We move over 8 million rides each day, providing this vital service to New Yorkers, but we pay a heavy price in blood.”

The rejected ad shows a female bus driver in a neck brace, and a male driver with a battered face in a bloody uniform shirt.

The two other photos show the bruised face of another worker, and the arm of a second with two deep slash wounds dripping with blood.

"Every 36 hours, a transit worker is assaulted on the job,” the advertisement states.

“We deserve a wage increase for our sacrifices.”

About 250 bus and subway workers are assaulted a year, according to MTA data.

The MTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

The MTA rejected the ad in November. Outlook, which manages advertising for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the ad was political, and barred it under agency rules, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said on Nov. 21.

That policy, adopted in April 2015, prohibits ads which “express a political message, including…an opinion, position or view point regarding disputed economic, political… or social issues.”

A spokesman for the union said Sunday that they disagree that the ad is political in nature.

He pointed out that after the Nov. 8 presidential election, the MTA allowed hundreds, if not thousands of people, to post all kinds of political opinions and messages on the walls of the Union Square station at E. 14th St.

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