Surrenders postponed for MTA workers in inspection probe

May 18, 2012 6:53:10 AM PDT
Eight MTA workers and their supervisors were initially expected to surrender Friday to face charges that they filed reports for subway signal inspections that they never conducted, but a judge postponed it until next week due to "scheduling conflicts."

The workers claim that the MTA knew exactly what they were doing, because they were overworked. All along, rider safety was being compromised.

It's being called "signal gate," in which the eight workers and their two supervisors are accused of faking inspections of subway signals. Those are the lights inside the tunnels that let the subway conductors know it is safe to proceed.

The signals have bar codes that workers simply swipe during the inspection. In this case, the codes had been duplicated onto paper, and the codes were swiped even though the signals had gone unchecked.

Union officials say the practice has gone on for awhile.

"What has gone on over the last several years is that they've been short 400-500 signal maintainers," Transit Workers' Union president John Samuelson said. "And the company's response to that has not been to hire signal maintainers to perform the inspections, but to pressure frontline supervisors and signal maintainers to submit fraudulent inspections."

The union says it will stand by its workers.

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