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MTA bosses kill train crew morale by posting faults at terminals

MTA managers have been shaming — and inadvertently naming — train crews accused of job screw-ups in a morale-killing warning to other workers, the Daily News has learned.

Reports of train conductors improperly closing doors or failing field tests are being posted to bulletin boards at station terminals. The posting areas are not public.

Despite a flimsy attempt at anonymity with a black marker, workers’ identities were legible, according to Tramell Thompson, a transit worker organizer.

“I’ve seen names and passes,” said Thompson, who is active at the Transport Workers Union Local 100 under a group called Progressive Action. “I could just put in a pass number and find out who the person is.”

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“They’re trying to bring down our morale, embarrass us,” Thompson added. “Maybe these people need better training, maybe training needs to be done more frequently.”

The motivational technique by MTA managers was spotted in the worker-only areas of the Brighton Beach terminal as recently as Tuesday, according to Thompson.

One report from June that was posted there accused a J train conductor at the Essex St. station of hitting an assistant train dispatcher and riders with the doors. Another report from the station from July said a C train conductor was pulled off the job at the 96th St. station for failing an “efficiency test” because of “improper door operation.”

This is not a new tactic for MTA managers.

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Last year, incident reports were tacked onto a bulletin board at the Stillwell Ave. terminal along with a sign, “Learning from others.”

It is unclear whether the incidents cited were fully adjudicated.

“We hold ourselves and our employees to an extremely high standard in terms of customer service and operations,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “We’re reviewing this particular situation and will discuss it with our partners in labor.”

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen fumed at what he sees as the MTA management’s attempt to harass workers and called it a violation of their contract.

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“There’s due process provisions in the contract — innocent ’til proven guilty. Who are they to post unfounded reports of incidents?” Samuelsen asked. “This is an absolute violation of the entire grievance procedure.”

He vowed to send union reps to rip down the incident reports. That won’t be necessary, however — the reports at the Brighton Beach station came down Wednesday after inquiries from The News, according to TWU officials.

Dean Burrell, an arbitrator and longtime labor lawyer in New Jersey, said both sides should be upset by the tactic — workers who may feel defamed and embarrassed and managers who want workers to cooperate with investigations.

“That’s just totally inappropriate,” Burrell said. “I’m sure any responsible member of management, if they knew who did that, would put the kibosh on it.”

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