Update: MBTA Sues to Set Aside Arbitrator’s Award

courtsDear Local 589 Members:

We have just received word from our attorneys that the MBTA has sued in Suffolk Superior Court to set aside the award of Arbitrator Sarah Kerr Garraty. That award set the terms of our contract between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2014.

After consulting with legal counsel and considering our options, the Officers and Executive Board of Local 589 have decided to sue the MBTA as well, as soon as this Friday, to confirm and enforce the award. We stressed to our counsel that we wish to have the matter resolved, one way or the other, as soon as possible.

While the Award adjusted our wages upward (to $32.98 per hour for top-rated Operators, for example) Arbitrator Garraty provided far too little money to help pay the expense of health care for active and retired workers, especially because, by law, we are obligated to join the GIC health care plan whenever our contract is set. If the Garraty Award goes into effect soon enough, members and retirees will be moved to the GIC this coming January and, as many of you know, GIC benefits are not as good as those we now have under our various plans.

HOWEVER, Local 589 is committed to fair bargaining and the rule of law. Our counsel advise us that Ms. Garraty had the legal authority to decide as she did. The contract and law require that we resolve our contract by binding arbitration and, we believe, our members want us to honor the law. Our counsel will also ask the court to preserve the status quo, preventing our migration into the G.I.C., effective January 1, 2014 and hold off on pay raises unless and until the award is confirmed. Needless to say, we will be unable to bargain over a new contract until we know what the terms of the old contract are.

It is still the position and advice of this Union and Executive Board that all members continue the enrollment process to protect their future health care choices.

We realize that this event leaves things unsettled and uncertain for everyone – and we wish we could tell you that there is some legitimate dispute behind the problem – but the opposite is true. Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey, surely in consultation with the Governor, has decided to sue for the sake of suing – at great expense to the Commonwealth and to you and our Union – and acting against the law.


John A. Clancy
Recording Secretary
ATU Local 589

Permanent link to this article: https://carmensunion589.org/2013/09/update-mbta-sues-to-set-aside-arbitrators-award/


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    • steve on October 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    How much did the Big Dig actually cost? Could this be why the M.B.T.A. was combined with the DOT to siphon funds from the T to pay for the outstanding loans of the Big Dig. The T is always the ones to be jumped upon when the state needs a distraction from the actual fact. The retirees should get a class action law suit against the M.B.T.A. and the state for not honoring the agreement about medical coverage for retirees and spouses which we all received upon retiring. This requirement to purchase health insurance will be just over 20% of my retirement ,I do live out of state with only one plan that will cover the family. Think about it future retirees what the M.B.T.A. and the State has in store for your retirement. Thanks.

    • chris on October 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    We have a court date on Oct 11th..hopefully it gets thrown out!!!…

    • j dimare on October 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    So are we going to follow ny and walk out?

    • j cat on October 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Anytime we get raises the Pioneer Institute complains that we get/make too much. they also blame the 15 billion of the MBTA debt on the benefits/salaries/retirement of the hourly workers.

    when you put all the charges for new equipment on the credit card and just pay the interest charges this will happen… you will be in deep debt.

    The MBTA management has made many bad decisions over the objections of the union members and officers over decades about the wasteful acts that end up costing us more to operate the system ,
    purchasing low bid vehicles , and then they are not tested by/on the federal government test track. bidding companies that are created just to get a contract then disappear. .replacement parts made from inferior materials of the incorrect spec’s that when they fail can create a huge expense just for saving a couple of dollars on each item.

    I knew that this was going to occur … with the type of talk down management to the workers. not listening to the on site management as to how to resolve wasteful spending and irresponsible actions of the upper management , they would turn this around and blame it all on the workers in the union …

    You will never here any complaints from the Pioneer Institute about management overload and poor spending decisions . Its always the low end hourly workers that get attacked.

    The other thing that gets me pissed off is , management hires workers with criminal records , the union has no say on rejecting these people with a long history of dangerous acts. then we the union have to pay to defend them when they get into trouble. they are responsible to protect the public and hiring this type of person is damaging to the public’s perception of us.

    • j dimare on October 1, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Ok same thing on site ..did we go to court yet or did they just do it …

    • john maroney on September 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Was it possible for you to argue for grandfathering the retirees on the medical issue. Or do we not count anymore. We live in Fl and the GIC doesn’t offer much along with not getting back the money spent for Medicare, we bite the bullit. It’s a shame when you put in the max time on the job to retire and expecting the benefits only to have them taken away and then feeling like your union who you payed dues to all the time you were working doesn’t seem to know how to protect the earned benefits. Thank you

    • SCMP on September 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    So the MBTA wants us to accept less? Why the hell would we accept anything less than this award especially when this is combined with the GIC health plan? The Union is going to have to show their worth this time and fight for much MORE!

    Actually maybe the MBTA is smarter than we think and wants us to “fight” for an award that we really aren’t that happy with. I’ve never worked for an organization that treats their workers so poorly.

    Fight for MORE 589!

    • Sally on September 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

    hey J cat I know Gov. Patrick wont answer the questions . I wont show his face in any T station etc… He knows There is 6000 + 589 members who are Mad!!!

    • Ski on September 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I am not surprised–eliminating the fraud in some of the government programs would pay for raises. Also, Evergreen …many more.

    Evergreen Solar was more important than the MBTA, and the company ran off to China with all the taxpayer’s money. Also, the commuter rail received a 13.7% increase in pay. MassDot is comparing the pay of a painter who is not in any danger of getting shot and killed to what??? a bus driver–who is constantly in danger of getting assaulted.

    At Patrick’s urging, the state shovelled $58 million into Evergreen’s Devens expansion, including about $20 million in cash tied to specific job-creation targets, $13 million in infrastructure improvements, tax breaks, and the multimillion-dollar value of a $1-a-year lease for the land on which the $430 million factory sits.

    At Patrick’s urging, the state shovelled $58 million into Evergreen’s Devens expansion, including about $20 million in cash tied to specific job-creation targets, $13 million in infrastructure improvements, tax breaks, and the multimillion-dollar value of a $1-a-year lease for the land on which the $430 million factory sits.

    We gave $58 million and benefits to a corporation that is running off to China,” Jehlen said. “That’s 24,000 dollars per job per year in public benefits to this company. Maybe it’s time to think about benefits that will allow working families to be stable and secure, keep their homes, keep their jobs and keep their families healthy.”


    The report — compiled by the Pioneer Institute, a conservative fiscal watchdog, and obtained by the Herald — called on Gov. Deval Patrick and Beacon Hill Democrats to rein in Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail and MBTA salaries and benefits before raising taxes to bail out the cash-strapped transit agency.

    Among the report’s eye-popping highlights:

    • 13.7 percent boost in salaries doled out by the MBCR to commuter rail engineers and trainmen in the current contract (from 2009 to June);

    • $1,000 lump-sum signing bonus to each engineer and conductor when the latest contract was ratified in 2011;

    • $100 monthly fee for full-scale family health insurance coverage; and

    • MBTA pay disparity when compared to state workers — including T painters who earn an average annual salary of $79,279 vs. $46,742 for state painters and T customer service reps who top out at $61,110, while their counterparts for the state earn no more than $45,117 at the RMV.

    “While everybody is struggling to find the money to fund the huge transportation deficit, very little attention is being paid to what is causing it,” said former state Inspector General Greg Sullivan, now the Pioneer Institute’s research director and author of the brief. “Salaries, overtime and benefits to MBTA and commuter rail employees far outstrip what people in state government are making.”


    • McDonald on September 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Time for the Union officers to shine. Election time is right around the corner and the opportunity to show Union power is now! I would like to think all other Unions that deal with the “T” will stand beside us, if not, they will be next.

    • Ruth on September 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    If the “T” is broke, who’s paying for the raises???

    • M. Long on September 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Patrick sold us out ! This decision to appeal came from the governor – a Democrat Governor I might add !

    How the hell does Patrick’s wife’s business partner’s husband get appointed Secretary of Transportation? HOW? A nation wide search I’m sure.

    10.4 over four years — hardly a windfall ! This doesn’t even keep pace with inflation.

    Better hope that a Bill Weld appointed judge doesn’t hear the case !

    • j cat on September 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    hey Sally you think Patrick will answer your questions ? just look at how he is with the media when they ask him questions. he is not very revealing on any issues important to the citizens of this state …takes care of the others however !

    • j cat on September 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

    With the state rejecting the binding arbitration with in the 30day period of the decision , this appears to be a plan that was not made yesterday …This was made this summer. Just as the GIC enrollment ends , the very next day the rejection from the state.

    Since none of these contract issues are not accepted , this will mean the complete contract will be on hold or changed for many months perhaps a year or two. The cost to the union and state may be well over $100,000 .

    The union should now have the federal labor department review all these decisions made earlier , that prevented the union from negotiating the retires retirement which included medical health insurance. This is because the person making this decision was not approved by congress . any of his actions should not be binding or legal. Since the rejection of this arbitration by the state , all grant payouts from the federal government should stop. this is a violation of federal rules regarding grant payments to transit .

    • Lolo1972 on September 27, 2013 at 7:53 am


    • Sally on September 27, 2013 at 7:03 am

    We need to start a petition to have Mr Davey removed. When he was acting Gm we could not get a contract signed and now that he is Mass Dot we stillcant get what was rewarded by arbitration.

    We need to request both Mr Davey and Gov.Patrick come to a special 589 meeting and explain to all of us in person Why. Instead of hiding downtown and making the new Gm the bad guy.


  1. […] Update: MBTA Sues to Set Aside Arbitrator’s Award September 26, 2013 […]

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