Municipal Government

New York Subway Seeks Free Labor from Welfare Recipients

Reprint, April 11, 2011

By George Mathis – March 29, 2011 AJC.Com

Should those receiving welfare be made to work menial jobs to receive benefits?

County workers are paid to remove political signs in Georgia, why not let welfare recipients do it?

That’s the plan of the New York subway system, which is trying to rejoin a city program that makes the unemployed toil for public assistance checks.

According to the New York Daily News article, the  Metropolitan Transit Authority eliminated 173 cleaning positions and wants to replace those folks with welfare recipients, who’d get no extra pay for their work.

The subway system participated in the free labor program for nine years, but stopped in 2008. Allegedly, the “free” labor was too expensive once MTA started paying unionized employees more to manage the cleaning crew.

While reading this story, I wondered how can a “Blue State” have a work program like this when “Red State” Georgia doesn’t?

It sounds like a good way to clean up trains, parks, schools, jails and streets. I’d chip in some cash to see the roads of DeKalb County denuded of signs affixed to every available telephone pole.

And able bodied adults receiving public benefits while working “under the table” jobs would be discovered.

Curiously, those with a criminal background are exempt  for New York’s Work Experience Program. That is a good idea, you don’t want criminals cleaning schools, but, for some, it also provides a twisted incentive to go shoplifting.

New York officials did not immediately return my calls. I have lots of questions about how the program works. From what I could find online, the program was an idea of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and has received mixed reviews.

April 10, 2011

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