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NYC subway service snarled after conductor’s neck slashed

ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2020
                                The MTA logo is seen on the side of a New York City subway car in the Queens borough of New York. Police in New York City are searching for a man who slashed Alton Scott, a subway conductor, in the neck. Scott was slashed in the neck as he put his head out a window to make sure the track was clear, the union representing transit workers said.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2020

The MTA logo is seen on the side of a New York City subway car in the Queens borough of New York. Police in New York City are searching for a man who slashed Alton Scott, a subway conductor, in the neck. Scott was slashed in the neck as he put his head out a window to make sure the track was clear, the union representing transit workers said.

NEW YORK >> Morning commutes on a New York City subway line were severely delayed Thursday after a train conductor was slashed in the neck, with transit officials blaming union members for disrupting service as they demanded safer working conditions.

The attack on the conductor happened around 3:40 a.m. as a southbound A train was pulling into a station in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Transportation Workers Union Local 100 said.

The conductor, Alton Scott, was slashed in the neck as he put his head out a window to make sure the track was clear, the union said. He needed 34 stitches to close the deep gash and is now recovering at home. Police said an arrest has not been made.

Commuters on the train line awoke to major delays during the morning rush, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority saying at the time it was “running as much service as we can with the train crews we have available.” Normal operations resumed on the subway line later Thursday.

Union and city officials offering conflicting versions of what caused the delay.

A union spokesperson, Alina Ramirez, said workers reported for work as usual Thursday but remained “on standby” in the hours after the attack until they received safety assurances from transit management, as is typical following such incidents. She added that at least one transit worker filed a safety complaint after the incident, trigging officials to conduct an inspection of the station before service could resume.

But later Thursday, Richard Davey, president of New York City transit for the MTA, told reporters that “union leadership decided to put on some kind of work stoppage charade which impacted a couple of hundred thousand New Yorkers commuters today on the A and the C.”

“Look we have evidence — by the way our employees wanted to move the trains, we have evidence that union officials were standing in the doors preventing the trains from moving,” Davey said.

Ramirez did not respond to a voicemail and text message seeking a response to Davey’s comments. Earlier Thursday, she stressed that the union did not authorize any official work stoppage or slowdown.

New York state has a law in place that blocks public employees from striking. Davey said the agency’s lawyers were reviewing the incident.

Both sides agreed more needs to be done to keep workers safe.

“We’re facing heinous crimes and brutal assaults. Enough is enough,” said Richard Davis, the union’s president.

The MTA has been experimenting with installing physical barriers such as orange rubber poles at some subway stops to deter attacks on subway conductors.

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