Top union official ousted after turmoil over position changes

Last Tuesday, a top union official was removed from his post following turmoil inside of TWU Local 100 over new M.T.A. staff changes and initiatives that are part of the $836 million Subway Action Plan.

Kia Phua, Vice President for Rapid Transit Operations, was stripped of his title following a vote of the union’s Executive Board, which seemed to be encouraged by president Tony Utano.

The frustration centers around the M.T.A.’s new subway “Customer Service Ambassador” position, which moves station booth attendants out onto the platforms, and includes the  responsibilities of a platform conductor. As the Daily News reported in December, the agency has had difficulties in filling the new positions, with only half of the allotted positions filled in some cases.

Phua and others from the union say that the M.T.A. is “broad-banding,” since two previously separate jobs are now being combined into a single title.

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