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MTA workers, riders ask the agency to restore service cuts, hire back workers

Station Agents

Station Agents Credit: Getty Images

Transit union members, straphangers and Occupy Wall Street protesters angrily confronted the MTA board Wednesday morning, demanding that the agency restore service cuts made in 2010 and hire back laid-off workers.

"Enough is enough," said Maurice Jenkins, Transport Workers Union Vice President for Stations.

Straphanger John Dennie said he wanted the MTA to hire more workers to monitor subway stations throughout the system.

“Many of us who ride the system have the perception that your employees care more about safety than you do,” he said. Several employees who were given pink slips in 2010 when the MTA eliminated two subway routes and dozens of bus lines asked the board to rehire more than 100 workers. The TWU says the MTA has money to add back service and workers, but is saving it instead.

In a news conference after Wednesday’s board meeting, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said he “respectfully disagrees” with the union.

“We are doing everything we can to work with the fragile budget conditions that we have,” he said.

A contract between the MTA and TWU expired more than a month ago, and the two sides are reportedly not near reaching an agreement.

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