The president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 is calling on the Chicago Transit Authority to do more to protect workers after an attack over the weekend.
“I’ve said it to the CTA a number of times,” said Eric Dixon. “We need to bring back our own policing here at the CTA to deter a lot of these crimes that’s happening on the CTA.”
Dixon received a phone call on Sunday that one of his members, a 44-year-old customer service assistant, had been stabbed multiple times during a fight. The incident happened on the platform of the Jackson blue line station.
“You know that’s one of those calls that you don’t want to get,” he said. “I don’t want to see any of my members hurt or harmed in any manner—nobody should feel that way.”
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Chicago police arrested a 39-year-old man from Arlington Heights for the crime. Albert Burage has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery to a peace officer and to a transit employee. A judge ordered him held without bail Tuesday afternoon.
“I want my members to feel safe coming to work and they should feel safe coming to work just like everybody else does,” said Dixon. “You should be able to come to your job and go home the same way you came.”
Over the summer, his union held a rally to push for more safety and protection for workers. Last month, he said the Chicago Police Department deployed an additional 50 officers to patrol the CTA.
“We have to bring back some form of policing or the CTA also need to find some ways to bring us some type of security here at the CTA to protect our members,” Dixon said.
The CTA said it's doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of employees. Working with CPD, the CTA said it has seen a 20% drop in crime this year compared to last. CTA officials said it's looking to add more unarmed security guards next year.
However, Dixon said he doesn’t think that’s enough.
“At some point our members are gonna start taking things into their own hands and I don’t blame them,” he said.