Judge Injunction Suspends MTA Layoffs

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hundreds of laid-off MTA station agents who were expecting to turn in their uniforms are reporting to work instead. WNYC has learned that a judge issued a temporary restraining order around 2 a.m. stopping the layoffs.

Hundreds of laid-off MTA station agents who were expecting to turn in their uniforms are reporting to work instead. Late last night, a state supreme court judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the closure of station booths. This morning, another judge continued the order until Monday so that both sides can have a more complete hearing.

The issue is whether or not the MTA followed the proper procedures in closing the station agent booths. One of the side effects was to at least temporarily suspend the layoffs.

The station agents were supposed to attend a session at a training center in Brooklyn to turn in their equipment and receive job placement services.

Now the workers are being told to call their operations managers to find out where they're supposed to report for duty.

"My wife has been crying for a week now because she's uncertain of what's going on," said Zack Kondrat, a former art store manager who became a station agent three years ago. "Everything was looking very bleak up until now."

A court session is scheduled for Monday. A spokesman for the MTA says he expects they will prevail. The agency says it needs to lay off these workers in order to close an $800 million budget gap.

Union officials are calling this a victory, albeit a small one. They know that there is still a “fight” to go.

About 475 station agents were scheduled to turn in their IDs and uniforms today. Instead they are being told to report to work because if the station booths aren't closed the MTA needs personnel to staff them.

UPDATE SINCE THIS STORY WAS FIRST POSTED:This story was updated to reflect an extension of the court order until Monday, when another hearing on the issue will be held.

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