It looks like the Occupy Wall Street group is finally living up to its reputation of being free riders.
In a stunt targeting the New York City transit system, Occupiers chained open service gates in numerous subway stations on Wednesday, using padlocks and posting fake signs announcing free rides. And now, there's even allegations that local unions were involved.
The New York Daily News has pictures of the chains and signs:
According to the Daily News, eight stations were hit in the stunt.
But other details are emerging from a pro-Occupy blog that suggests this wasn't just an Occupy incident. According to a communique forwarded to the site Strike Is a Verb, "workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union" also participated. That communique also claims the number of subway stations hit numbered over 20:
This morning before rush hour, teams of activists, many from Occupy Wall Street, in conjunction with rank and file workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union, opened up more than 20 stations across the city for free entry. As of 10:30 AM, the majority remain open. No property was damaged. Teams have chained open service gates and taped up turnstiles in a coordinated response to escalating service cuts, fare hikes, racist policing, assaults on transit workers’ working conditions and livelihoods — and the profiteering of the super-rich by way of a system they’ve rigged in their favor.
For the last several years, riders of public transit have been under attack. The cost of our Metrocards has been increasing, while train and bus service has been steadily reduced. Budget cuts have precipitated station closings and staff/safety reductions. Police routinely single out young black and Latino men for searches at the turnstile. Layoffs and attrition means cutting staff levels to the bare minimum, reducing services for seniors and disabled riders. At the same time, MTA workers have been laid off and have had their benefits drastically reduced. Contract negotiations are completely stalled.
Working people of all occupations, colors and backgrounds are expected to sacrifice to cover the budget cut by paying more for less service. But here’s the real cause of the problem: the rich are massively profiting from our transit system. [Emphasis added]
But despite that claim, TWU Local 100 -- which supports Occupy -- has denied any involvement.
"We knew nothing about it," local President John Samuelsen told the Daily News.
Police are still investigation and no arrests have been made. The chains and locks, which popped up around 5 am, were removed by about 8:30 am yesterday morning.