(Reuters) – New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday authorized public hearings on the layoff of 260 subway station clerks, whose jobs remain in limbo until a court rules on the issue.
The MTA, which is struggling to close a deficit of about $800 million, has appealed a court ruling that the layoffs cannot take place until public hearings are held.
The MTA’s appeal automatically stays the court order that it rehire the 260 subway station clerks, an MTA spokesman said by telephone.
“These closures were necessitated by the MTA’s dire financial situation, and the need for the savings they generate remains,” the MTA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The agency, which carries 8.4 million people a day on its buses, subways and commuter railroads, wants to lay off another 210 subway clerks who remain on the job.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder has estimated that it costs the agency about $40,000 a day to employ the 210 clerks, the spokesman said.
Transit tickets can be purchased at vending machines at all subway stations, but the Transit Workers Union says the clerks are necessary for public safety, especially after the recent bomb attempt in Times Square.
“Digital signage and cameras can’t come to the aid of passengers, and can’t offer that immediate link to police and fire that our station agents provide,” the president of TWU Local 100, John Samuelsen, said in a statement on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Leslie Adler)