As if our world wasn’t as messed up as we already know it to be, NYC’s Transport Workers Union is claiming that the MTA stores dead bodies cleaned up off of subway tracks in worker break rooms. You thought you had it bad when somebody heated up their fish?
What’s even more fucked up is that the bodies are reportedly left out in the open with no warnings to workers and no locked doors. At any given moment, a worker could walk into room and find a body, or pieces of a body with no warning, according to NY1 News.
Here are the quoted claims from the Transit Union official, via the NY1 report:
“You have pieces, you have blood spatter,” said Derek Echevarria, the vice president of TWU Local 100. “It could be any contamination or disease.”
“These are bathrooms, facility rooms, break rooms — anybody can just walk in without notice,” Echevarria said. “And that is another part of ending the service, because they’re usually sent home by what they’ve seen, what they’ve touched.”
The MTA’s response to the TWU’s claims was that police respond to incidents on the tracks immediately and bodies are placed in “non-public spaces” and not break rooms, which still sounds a lot like any sort of off-platform room they can find, if you ask me. The bodies supposedly hang out for an hour before the medical examiner arrives.
I’ve never really considered what happens after the scene is cleaned up on the tracks; I kind of hoped they went straight to a hospital or examiner. But to hear workers claim they have to be exposed to traumatic visuals of dead bodies with no prior warning is incredibly alarming and horrific if true. There has got to be a better way to handle that.
Jalopnik reached out to the MTA after-hours line for clarification on what is considered a “non-public space” and was directed to call the main press office tomorrow. This post will be updated when/if there is new information.
Update: The MTA has reached out to Jalopnik with an official statement:
“It’s of the utmost importance that anyone who dies in the subway is removed from tracks and public spaces like platforms as quickly as possible, to restore service quickly and to give humane treatment to the deceased and their family. The placement and removal of bodies are handled by NYPD and the NYC Medical Examiner, and we’re discussing with TWU officials how any of the current practices can be enhanced for the comfort of our workers.”
NYC Transit officials stressed that the handling and guarding of bodies and the determination of where they are held prior to the medical examiner arriving is managed by the NYPD during the entire process.