Transit Workers Union Local 100 is angry that the MTA won't let them run an ad—showing injured transit workers who were hurt on the job—in the subway system. The transit agency claims that the ad is "political" and therefore not allowed.
TWU Local 100 sent the ad to the media, and the poster says, "Every 36 hours, a transit worker is assaulted on the job. We deserve a wage increase for our sacrifices." The transit workers shown include bus operator Marlene Bien-Aime (far left) who was beaten when she wouldn't let a teen bring her Chihuahua on the bus and Clarence Jackson (third from left), a bus driver who was slashed twice.
The union wanted to buy space for its posters in "dozens of subway stations" as it nears the end of its contract, which expires on January 15. The Daily News reports, "The roughly $190,000 buy would have put the poster in up to 120 stations over eight weeks."
Speaking to the Post, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz detailed why the ad wasn't allowed, "First, it’s not in a permitted category — it isn’t a commercial ad, nor is it a governmental ad, and it isn’t a public-service announcement directly relating to one of the permitted topics. Second, it’s prohibited because it’s political in nature."
The union argues that it's not political. "The MTA clearly doesn’t want riders to see the faces of the workers who are assaulted in the line of duty every day," TWU president John Samuelson told the Post. He vowed to fight to have the posters displayed
The MTA's advertising contractor, Outfront Media, makes the call about which ads are permitted: For instance, Outfront okayed an ad of a strangled woman's head in a plastic bag (for a haunted house) on subways until WNYC questioned the MTA. Outfront also authorized full subway wraps depicting Nazi insignias—for an Amazon series—on the 42nd Street S shuttle before outcry prompted their removal.