Transport Workers Union: Absurd Conditions To Blame For Alleged Problems

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –– Call it “signal-gate.”

A new Metropolitan Transportation Authority scandal is expected to lead to the arrest this week of 10 employees, accused of cooking the books on track and signal inspections, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer learned Wednesday.

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The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is expected to shine a big red stoplight on the work practices of eight MTA workers and two supervisors, expected to be charged with faking signal inspections.

The workers are suspected of filing bogus reports saying they inspected the signals when in fact they didn’t, officials said.

Bill Henderson of the MTA Transit Riders Council said faked reports can be the bane of a rider’s existence because if they’re not done right and on time.

“It means there could be breakdowns when it’s not expected. Now, there are fail safe systems within the signal system, but what happens when a fail safe trips is everything stops,” Henderson said.

And if that happens at rush hour?

“You could have a very crowded, uncomfortable and even unsafe situation on the platform as they become more and more crowded and the trains don’t move,” Henderson said.

Union officials are unhappy with the charges, saying their guys have done nothing wrong. They said there just aren’t enough of them to do the job.

“Being that we’re so underpowered and we don’t have enough signal maintainers, the managers push my members almost beyond their limits,” said John Chiarello of the Transport Workers Union Local 100.

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But that’s not all. Union officials said it’s really hard to do the job because you have to stop every single time a train goes by.

“Just imagine working under these conditions, a train bearing down on you and now this added pressure that we’re receiving,” Chiarello said.

When a train comes, work stops.

“We clear up into these niches,” Chiarello said.

Talk about claustrophobic, when the train comes the workers cram into narrow brown cutouts in the wall.

“That little thing right there, dangerous work,” Chiarello said.

Sources told Kramer each suspect will be hit with charges of tampering with official records and official misconduct.

The union criticized investigators for not going after Transit Authority brass.

Do you feel safe riding on the subway? Sound off in the comments section below.

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