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CTA Employees Attacked Physically And Verbally Everyday, Bus Drivers Union Says; 'We're Here To Do A Job'

Chicago (CBS) -- Just days ago, CBS 2 uncovered that crime has gone up on the CTA. Since then, two transit workers have been attacked while on the job.

The bus drivers union says everyday workers are being attacked physically or verbally. Even though the CTA installed 32,000 cameras across the transit system, the union says that is not enough to deter crime and to protect workers and even passengers.

Thousands of people pass through the Roosevelt Station everyday to take the bus or train.

But, overnight something happened to a CTA worker there. He and other employees were trying to stop an argument between several people when one of them stabbed him in the chest and stomach.

Keith Hill is the president of the local Amalgamated Transit Union chapter. He represents more than 6,000 CTA workers.

"We shouldn't be attacked. We shouldn't be spit on. We shouldn't be verbally cussed out because we're here to do a job," Hill said.

CBS 2 uncovered Chicago police numbers that show violent crimes are up across the CTA, whether on a bus or train, platform or stop.

Last year, there were 771 violent crimes reported on CTA property, compared to just 547 four years earlier.

It's unclear how many of those violent crimes involved CTA workers. Yesterday, a bus driver was attacked on the 71st Street route.

"I just had a young lady attacked yesterday. Her eye socket is fractured for requesting a fare," Hill said.

The CTA says incidents of assaults on its workers are very rare, and they take every reported incident very seriously.

Meanwhile, the union president says he wants a heavy police presence to prevent something from happening again.

"The sad thing is somebody might have to lose their life," Hill said.

As for the injured CTA worker, he is still recovering in the hospital in stable condition. He is a relative of 45th Ward Alderman-elect Jim Gardiner.

"The individual who was stabbed last night, while selflessly coming to the aid of someone being attacked, is my cousin," Gardiner said in a statement. "I want to thank the first responders, medical staff and my cousin's co-workers for their efforts on his behalf."

Police are still reviewing surveillance cameras in hopes of identifying the three suspects who ran off.

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