New York subway seeks ‘free’ labor from welfare recipients

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?

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 shoplifiting.

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.

4 comments Add your comment

Old Geezer

March 29th, 2011
4:05 pm

The older workers on unemployment would claim they are too old to work a manual labor job, while the young people on unemployment would claim they are too smart to work a manual labor job. Make it fair to everyone, every week before their check gets deposited they must submit a work search list and piss in a cup, if everything comes out clean they get paid. The staff needed to implement this action could be found by hiring some of the more intelligent unemployed.

Old Geezer

March 29th, 2011
4:10 pm

Is this a work program for the unemployed in order to continue their unemployment benefits or for those on welfare? Completely different. The unemployed getting benefits have actually worked at jobs long enough to qualify for benefits. The welfare recipients simply had to do nothing, not try to work and have some kids they can’t afford. Do you know how much in food stamps a person on welfare gets? More than those who have money spend on groceries a month. I’m all for making the welfare recipients work for something, but their nails would get in the way.

Jan from Holly Springs

April 6th, 2011
11:43 am

to Old Geezer…who would take care of the children of the welfare recipients? Good plan, but less adults in a neighborhood mean more kids on the streets: not safe for anyone.


April 21st, 2011
3:40 pm

Mr. Mathis, I work in New York for a workforce development organization. To my knowledge, there is no blanket exclusion that prevents people with conviction histories from participating in New York City’s Work Experience Program. Rather, certain participating agencies exclude individuals only with certain types of convictions, where those convictions would call into question their ability to perform a job. That is in accord with New York State Law, where the existence of a conviction history isn’t enough on its own to disqualify a job applicant (presuming, again, that the conviction isn’t related to the specific job in question). Can you explain where this information came from? Thank you!