Mon, 2008-12-08

ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear led a small delegation to New York City to attend the funeral of Edwin Thomas, a Bus Operator for the Metropolitan Transit Authority who was stabbed to death by a passenger over a transfer dispute.

Thomas, a 46 year old New York City Bus Operator was murdered on the job on December 1, 2008. Witnesses told police that a young man entered the bus and attempted to pay his fare by swiping an invalid MetroCard in the fare box two or three times. Even though the card was rejected, the man sat down without saying a word. Later, he approached Thomas and asked for a transfer. Thomas told the man he hadn’t even paid his fare so he couldn’t get a transfer. Outraged, the man punched Thomas in the head twice before exiting the bus but immediately returned and stabbed him several times in the chest, then fled. Two male passengers chased the assailant but could not catch him. Other passengers tried to assist Thomas but he was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at the hospital.

The Transit Workers Union Local 100 immediately offered a $12,000 reward in the case, which was matched by New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the New York Police Department for a total of $36,000. Less than 24 hours after the stabbing, police took into custody 20-year-old Horace Moore, who eventually confessed to the crime. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter. Moore had a long record as a juvenile offender and had previously spent time in custody.

Edwin Thomas had worked for the MTA for seven years. Co-workers described him as a hard worker who did a lot of overtime. He leaves behind an 18-year old son and a 16-year old daughter.

Upon hearing the news, Local 113 President Bob Kinnear called TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint to express his shock and concern. Kinnear, along with Secretary-Treasurer Les Moore and Executive Board member Ian Mackay went to New York to attend the funeral and to extend the condolences and solidarity of Local 113 members to Thomas’s grieving union and family.

After the funeral, Kinnear was interviewed by New York’s NBC-TV News:

“Nobody, nobody, should have to go to work and face the possibility of death, just doing their job. This funeral should serve as a wake-up call to lawmakers and city leaders.”