Transit workers around NYC seek similar benefits at stores as other essential workers

Some transit workers and union representatives in the city say they are disappointed in local store and supermarket chains for failing to treat them as essential workers.

News 12 Staff

Apr 20, 2020, 1:42 AM

Updated 1,491 days ago

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Some transit workers and union representatives in the city say they are disappointed in local store and supermarket chains for failing to treat them as essential workers. 
Jonathan Baldwin is an MTA bus operator in Flatbush. He's been reaching out to local supermarkets to see what their policy is on allowing transit workers the same privilege as first responders and medical workers.
"We are needed. We are the nerve, almost, of the city along with other agencies, NYPD, firefighters, health care," he says.
Baldwin says over the last few days, he's heard of numerous colleagues who were told they can't skip the line to get in the stores or to registers.
The president of Transport Workers Union Local 100 said in a statement, "We are getting the essential workers to their jobs. Dozens of transit workers have died. They should absolutely be recognized for all that they are doing and have sacrificed."
Baldwin says while other essential employees, like police, firefighters, doctors and nurses get much deserved praise, transit employees are often forgotten.
"To work in this kind of pandemic, it's scary because you don't know what can happen to you," he says. 
A spokesperson from the MTA also tells News 12 that aside from providing workers with masks, temperature checks and enforcing social distancing at stations and on buses, they have  also been in touch with some retailers regarding this problem. He said in a statement, "New York City transit's workforce are truly heroes of this crisis. The MTA supports any effort to provide them with the priority access to benefits being afforded to our region's heroes."
PHOTOS: Your Hometown Heroes
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