NEW YORK (WCBS 880/CBS 2) — It’s an unlucky Friday the 13th for nearly 200 MTA workers were laid off Friday as the agency tightens its budget belt.
Workers were forced to hand everything back, including their badges, uniforms, and jobs, reports CBS 2’s Mary Calvi.
“It was supposed to be a stable job – pension, health insurance, all that,” Freddy Rosa, one of those laid off workers, said.
Hundreds of transit workers got pink slips Friday as part of the agency’s budget cuts.
“The whole exit process, that’s not how you should treat your worker, it should’ve been more private,” one transit worker said. “Not just handing you a 7-day MetroCard and say ‘Oh, see you later, find a job in seven days.’ I’m disgusted.”
“We’re going to stand in solidarity with them,” transit worker John Paul Patafio said.
Workers gathered on Friday to protest the layoffs, the latest in a series of job cuts eliminating more than 3,000 administrative and operating positions.
Workers blasted MTA Chairman Jay Walder for jetting off to Europe Friday as hundreds lost their jobs.
“I think it’s outrageous that the MTA is making these cuts,” Patafio said. “It affects rider safety and accessability, things New Yorkers have come to expect from transit.”
The MTA is trying to close a multimillion-dollar budget gap.
“The MTA has had to make a series of difficult decisions to address a $900 million budget shortfall caused by deteriorating tax revenues and state budget cuts, including laying off employees at all levels of our organization,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the cuts during his radio show Friday morning.
“There’s no more money, and he can only raise fares so much,” Bloomberg said. “There will be a fare increase. We’ll keep most of the buses running.”