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Access-a-Ride-workers threaten strike over labor conditions

Access-a-Ride vehicles

Access-a-Ride vehicles Photo Credit: Flickr / MTA

The transit union that represents many MTA workers threatened a strike Thursday at the Access-a-Ride call center.

The company Global Contact Services has about 500 workers at the call center who set up Access-a-Ride trips, a service used by passengers who need wheelchair-accessible cars. Workers have made complaints to the MTA's board and Inspector General about their labor conditions.

John Samuelsen, who heads the TWU Local 100, said contract negotiations had broken down completely, and that a strike would halt Access-a-Ride operations.

He compared the CEO of Global Contact Services, Gregory Alcorn, to a "whip-cracker," and the company he runs to a digital plantation.

"He's the equivalent of an 18th-century plantation owner, but in this case it's an electronic plantation in Queens," he said.

Global Contact Services did not immediately comment for the story.

The strike is likely to happen following the MTA board meeting on Nov. 18, according to Samuelsen, and has been approved by leadership at the TWU.

Labor complaints range from bedbugs to wages, which range from $9 to $11 an hour, union officials said.

The union wants the MTA to nix the contract with Global Contact Services, and use a different company for the workers. Board member Charles Moerdler has said he will move to terminate their contract if there is no action by the MTA Inspector General by the next board meeting.

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast said a review of the company is being done by the Inspector General and New York City Transit, and the findings will be shared at the MTA board.

"They began a due diligence review and more," Prendergast said. "We will share that information with you."

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