Man riding subway with mask in New York City. – July 25, 2020 (Shutterstock)
SEPTEMBER 10 — TWU Local 100 has been advocating for enforcement of the mask rule with fines for months – and that advocacy paid off Thursday. Gov. Cuomo announced Thursday that riders not wearing masks will face a $50 fine. Enforcement will be the responsibility of the NYPD, the MTA police, and MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers, the authority said.
“This is an important step towards making the bus and subway system safer, and we are grateful that the Governor heard us on this issue,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “This is good news for both transit workers and riders. Anyone who doesn’t wear a mask, or some other face covering, puts everyone at risk. We recognize that a fine could be hardship for some. You know what’s harder? Going to a funeral because someone didn’t wear a mask on a bus or train.”
President Utano’s radio spot urging riders to wear masks has been airing on 1010 WINS since Labor Day.
A July survey by Local 100 found that on some bus routes only 60% of riders were wearing masks.
Mask enforcement was one of the items in Local 100’s 10-point Transit Plan for A Re-opened New York City. President Utano called for enforcement during his testimony before a joint hearing by the state Assembly and Senate. He also made the case in an Op-Ed published in the New York Daily News and multiple media interviews.
“Just days after Labor Day, this development illustrates why unions and union advocacy matters,” Utano said.