NYC transit workers share their break rooms with dead bodies
The approximately 50 people a year who are struck and killed by New York City subway trains are often kept in worker break rooms – sometimes for hours – until the city’s medical examiner comes to remove them.
Workers, understandably, don’t like that.
The union representing Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) workers is asking NYC Mayor de Blasio to make body retrieval happen faster, citing sanitary and mental health concerns.
“Mayor de Blasio and his administration have failed to provide enough staffing for the Medical Examiner’s Office to quickly retrieve and remove bodies from the subway after these tragedies,” said the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in a statement. “It’s unacceptable that transit workers have to endure this on the job.”
According to news reports, when a subway fatality occurs, the NYPD arrives quickly and the body is moved to a “non-public” place so that service can be restored – often an MTA worker break room. The TWU says it sometimes takes more than two hours for medical examiner’s office personnel to arrive and remove the body and blames understaffing for the delay.
The de Blasio administration has reportedly increased staffing at the medical examiner’s office, resulting in a drop in response time, and says it will take measure to reduce response times even further “to ensure both the humane treatment of the deceased and the health of subway workers and straphangers.”