The New York City Transit Workers Union filed a restraining order Monday to prevent the NYPD from forcing city bus drivers to transport arrested demonstrators in MTA vehicles, NY1 reports.
On Saturday, 744 people, protesting as part of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement, were penned and arrested as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. The NYPD, strapped for a way to take so many prisoners to city precincts, commandeered five MTA buses and their drivers.
The Transit Workers Union Local 100's executive committee, which oversees the 38,000-member organization of city subway and bus workers, had voted unanimously only a few days earlier to support the protesters.
According to The New York Daily News, Union President John Samuelsen called ordering bus drivers to drive prisoners "a blatant act of political retaliation."
"This was a peaceful protest until the police came along,” Samuelsen told The New York Post, adding that cops are technically allowed to commandeer bus drivers in case of an emergency but scoffed at the notion that Saturday’s events were even close to crossing that threshold.
“This is not 9/11. There was no state of emergency whatsoever. They have no right to press our bus operators into performing emergency services,” he said. “We’re down with these protesters!”
Police officials have yet to comment on the injunction filed by the TWU.
Mayor Bloomberg insists the NYPD acted appropriately Saturday, despite some protesters' claims that the NYPD tricked them into getting arrested.
The TWU is scheduled to join the protesters this Wednesday, October 5, for a large rally to express explicit support.
Another union, SEIU 32BJ, which represents city doormen, security guards and maintenance workers, is using its Oct. 12 rally to express solidarity with the Zuccotti Park protesters.