TWU Local 100 President Samuelson: Transit Authority's Decision An 'Outrage'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of transit workers were not paid for allegedly not showing up to work ahead of Superstorm Sandy, according to a transit workers union, which claimed those employees had no other choice.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen told 1010 WINS on Thursday that he can’t believe the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would dock pay to the workers, who have been working so hard to get the city running again.

“There are thousands of New York City Transit workers that are being forced to use vacation days in order to get paid for Monday and Tuesday when the system was shut down and they couldn’t get to work due to that shutdown and that’s an outrage,” Samuelsen said.

The Daily News cited an internal memo the paper said was circulated last Friday that announced hourly employees who took the day off without calling in on Oct. 29, when the MTA was moving equipment to higher ground to prepare for Sunday, would not be paid.

Given the circumstances, however, Samuelsen told 1010 WINS, the decision is both insensitive and disrespectful.

“Transit worker families have lost houses, we’ve lost power. We’re living in the cold, we’re struggling to take care of our families and we’re getting docked pay and it’s an outrage considering the efforts that we put on to get this city back on its feet,” he said.

But the MTA responded to the situation, saying that workers have “the responsibility of contacting supervision and alerting us to their work status.”

“We realize that some of our workers are facing the same issues as others hit hard by this storm,” said spokesman Kevin Ortiz, while adding “If someone never came in, never called, never told us what they were going to do, they will not be paid.”

“We’re a vital component of the city’s transportation network and it was important to get the city up and running as quickly as possible,” the statement concluded.

But that response did not appease Samuelsen, who said the whole situation doesn’t make much sense.

“The company determines they’re gonna shut the system down, transit workers have no way to get to work and then, the transit authority docks them for not coming to work,” he said.

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