The MTA and its main union still seem far apart on a new contract, but say they both agree on protecting workers from assault and plan to meet with city law enforcement officials Thursday to work on possible solutions. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.
Punched black and blue, bus driver Marlene Bien-Aime is far from alone. She was one of 94 bus and subway workers workers the MTA says were assaulted last year. That's up 30 percent from the year before.
"Four, five, six assaults a week occur. It's outrageous and it needs to come to an end," said Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen.
The MTA says it is teaming up with its unions and law enforcement for a conference Thursday intended to come up with ways of reducing those attacks.
"From a moral position both of us have an objective to take care of the needs of our employees," said MTA NYC Transit President Tom Prendergast.
Four of the district attorneys are attending. The union says Bronx DA Robert Johnson has a scheduling conflict. Representatives of the MTA police and the NYPD are also expected.
"We can make sure that everyone understands what everyone is doing and maybe they can go a little bit further," Prendergast said.
New York City Transit and the union say prosecutors need to make potential offenders understand the consequences of hurting a transit employee.
"An all out aggressive campaign by district attorneys throughout New York City to prosecute to fullest extent of law these criminals that assault New York City transit workers," Samuelsen said.
To help prosecutors and protect employees the MTA has installed cameras or shields on nearly a thousand buses. The hope is that increased safety for transit workers will increase safety for riders.
The conference will be held at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.
For more information, view the brochure announcement.