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TWU wins another ruling to keep conductors on trains

The arbitrator ruled on Feb. 8 the MTA's plan to quit using conductors would violate an agreement between the transit agency and the union.Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, hailed the decision as "a triumph in the interests of the safety of subway patrons and transit workers."Arbitrator Richard Adelman, who issued the latest decision, ruled Aug. 29, 2005 against the MTA on the removal of conductors from L trains and ordered them returned, also specifying the agency violated a union rule.The New York City Transit Authority, the part of the MTA that operates buses and subways, expressed disagreement with both rules by Adelman.The Transport Workers Union has long maintained that conductors are essential to safety and orderly operation of subway trains, particularly in case of emergency when they direct evacuation of passengers.The Transit Authority already operates conductorless trains on a few shuttles, including the Grand Central -Times Square shuttle and other short trains, including weekend runs on the G line.An agreement between the MTA and the Transport Workers Union sets strict rules for what the MTA calls One Person Train Operation, including trains shorter than the usual eight cars and times when there are fewer passengers, such as overnight and weekend times.The MTA has sought to extend one-person train operation to trains that run during week days and peak passenger periods.Under the MTA's proposed plan, the train operator would assume the duties of the conductors, including opening and closing doors of the subway train and making announcements. The operator would use a television screen to observe the doors and determine whether it was safe to close doors.Officials of the New York Transit Authority have testified they are confident the trains can be operated safely with only the operator.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, ext. 136.

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