Transit Workers Union Local 100 members are tired of the conditions at an Access-A-Ride call center in Queens and want the Metropolitan Transit Authority to end its relationship with the contractor—and they have an MTA board member ready to support their cause.
At a recent MTA board meeting in lower Manhattan, board member Charles Moerdler said that he’s ready to introduce a motion ending the MTA’s contract with Global Contact Services, a South Carolina-based contractor whose management workers have labeled “draconian.”
“I’ve heard enough today to demonstrate to my view there is no good faith on part of this vendor,” Moerdler said at the board’s monthly meeting in lower Manhattan. “The pay situation is illegal if it is as represented [by workers]. The working conditions are intolerable.”
“We will fight this out until the end,” added TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen in a statement. “We will defend these workers with all resources available to us.”
Before Moerdler’s comments, dozens of TWU Local 100 members and organizers, including Dylan Valle, testified about their experiences with GCS and told stories of being bitten by bedbugs, receiving lower wages than they were promised and getting fired for supporting TWU. Workers want to improve the working conditions and pay of the approximately 600 workers at the Queens-based Access-A-Ride call center.
MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger and MTA Auditor General Michael Mike Fucilli launched an investigation to review GCS worker complaints, the MTA contract itself and its operations overall. According to MTA Board Chairman Tom Prendergast, the review began in September at the behest of TWU. He expects a report within the next two months.
GCS staffer and Local 100 organizer Esther Mota thanked the board for their efforts.
“We greatly appreciate your attention,” Mota said in a statement. “We just want you to help us make it easier to do our jobs, live within our city and help our community.”
“We need to do it as quickly as possible and bring these matters to a head in terms of what actions we may need to take,” said Prendergast at the meeting. “It’s essential that they do it right and look through everything.”