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News : MTA ‘Whips’ Call-center Workers like a ‘Plantation,’ Union Charges
New York, NY, USA, Sept 24, 2015 -- The company that runs the call centers for the MTA’s Access-A-Ride program treats its workers like they’re on a "plantation," their union president charged at a transit-agency meeting.
"The company is whip-cracking its workers. The plantation [it’s] running is right on Northern Boulevard, and it’s your responsibility," Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen told MTA board members.
The MTA promised to review its contract with the firm, Global Contact Services.
Of the 525 workers in the firm’s Queens office, 90 percent of them are women, and nearly all are black or Hispanic. New hires are paid $9 an hour. The National Labor Relations Board filed suit against GCS earlier this year, saying that the company was firing and demoting union supporters or forcing them to endure special rules and supervision.
Samuelson said the company has a long history of abusing its workers, slashing their wages, firing them for supporting the union, and chastising them for coming to work late because of slow Access-A-Ride vans.
The company has refused to negotiate a contract with TWU, said union officials.
MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said he and vice chair Fernando Ferrer would personally look into the complaints and report back to the board in October.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Metropolitan Transportation Authority:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the U.S. state of New York, serving 12 counties in southeastern New York, along with two counties in southwestern Connecticut under contract to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, carrying over 11 million passengers on an average weekday systemwide, and over 800,000 vehicles on its seven toll bridges and two tunnels per weekday.
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Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015