Jimmy O’Brien, Boston Carmen’s Union
July 31, 2017
Last year, the Carmen’s Union fought against privatization to save our jobs and do what we think is in the best interest of the MBTA – which is Keeping Public Transportation Public and investing in the MBTA’s infrastructure, not finding ways to privatize the work of hardworking employees.
Now, the MBTA has targeted the work of The Machinists, Local 264 for privatization. For the life of me, I can’t understand why the MBTA thinks it’s a good idea to privatize the work of the very employees who are consistently rated the best in the business for what they do – all the while being responsible for fixing and maintaining some of the most antiquated and run down equipment in the country.
Time and time again, MBTA management talks about improving service, but riders out there aren’t feeling a difference. We need to invest in the system, not just outsource the system to private companies – who, are looking to make a profit off of the public service we provide.
With privatization, management promises a lot of things. And yet, very little of it is real.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again – Keolis is the #1 case study of privatization gone wrong. And everyone in this room – and riding the commuter rail – knows it.
Privatization has already begun in a few places. I’m here to say – it is not delivering the results the MBTA promised. There are problems in the warehouses and money room every day. Overspending in the warehouses, missed collections in the money room. Management would like everyone to believe everything is working out great – the people on the ground say otherwise.
MBTA management continues to make claims they can’t defend and promises they can’t keep. There is no reason to believe additional privatization won’t be more of the same. In June, a presentation was provided on the MBTA Pension Fund – claiming that it would see 4% returns in the coming years and that the fund was running into the ground. Last week, we saw the real data that says something very different.
The MBTA made changes to the payroll system in order to “streamline” efforts. I know there can be growing pains with any new system, but it is unacceptable to issue checks to employees that do not fully compensate them for their work – and that is what happened.
It’s time for the MBTA to be honest with themselves and the public. And then, get back to basics. Let’s make the investments this system so badly needs, let’s really improve service for our riders, and bring the citizens of Massachusetts the transportation system it deserves – and the system it needs to help Massachusetts continue to flourish.
The Boston Carmen’s Union is proud that we were able to reach an agreement with the MBTA that protected our member’s jobs, and helped the MBTA identify cost savings it needed, but make no mistake about it – we are against privatization of MBTA jobs because we don’t believe it is in the best interest of our brothers and sisters – or the MBTA and our riders.
The Boston Carmen’s Union stands with The Machinists, Local 264 because we know they are the best prepared, the most knowledgeable, and the most capable – and its who we trust to get the job done.