Boston City Council Unanimously Approves Resolution on MBTA Privatization Plans


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Cayenne Isaksen

Boston City Council Unanimously Approves Resolution on MBTA Privatization Plans

Resolution calls on Baker Administration to provide “transparent briefing regarding privatization plans of MBTA”

BOSTON, MA (November 2, 2016) – Transit workers from the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 attended the Boston City Council meeting today to support District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell as she presented a Resolution calling for transparency and better analysis from the MBTA as it pursues an aggressive privatization agenda.

The Boston City Council unanimously approved the resolution, which follows news that Keolis, the private operator of the MBTA Commuter Rail, may have engaged in discriminatory practices when multiple trains on the Fairmount Line were cancelled and redirected to higher-fare paying, suburban commuter rail routes. U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Transportation investigate the practices.

“Many District 4 residents have shared concerns with my office regarding repeated MBTA service cancellations which have denied them access to public transportation to get to and from work or school,” Campbell said. “The lack of advance notification about service changes along the Fairmount Corridor has disrupted residents’ lives and livelihood. This is why I am asking the Baker Administration for a full briefing on their plans for the privatization of the MBTA. Additionally, I would like to thank the members of the Boston Carmen’s Union for coming out in support of this resolution and for their dedication to getting our hardworking residents where they need to go.”

MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve has made clear that “everything’s on the table” for potential outsourcing, including work transporting passengers. The MBTA also spent nearly $1 million for outsourcing advice from McKinsey & Co. For months, the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 has been making every effort to explain to the Fiscal and Management Control Board and the Baker Administration that privatization is wrong for the MBTA. But MBTA leadership under Baker, Shortsleeve and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack have been committed to privatization at all costs. In recent weeks, dozens of Massachusetts legislators, members of the Boston City Council, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have joined the Boston Carmen’s Union in opposition to privatization of the MBTA.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Councilor Campbell and the Boston City Council as they call for greater transparency and honesty from Governor Baker and his administration’s privatization agenda,” said James O’Brien, President of the Boston Carmen’s Union. “There has been nothing transparent about the way MBTA leadership has pursued outsourcing. From the decision making, to the forgiven fines, to the secret hiring of private consultants – the MBTA continues to withhold information from the public, waiting to reveal full details until pushed for information by the media. Recent news about Keolis canceling trains on the Fairmount Line reinforces the fact that a private company is not accountable to the public and has no interest in delivering a public service to Massachusetts residents.”


About the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589
Founded in 1912, the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 is the largest of 28 unions with members employed by the MBTA. Over 4,100 MBTA employees are members of the Carmen’s Union, including: Bus Divers, Train (Subway) and Trolley Operators, Maintenance of Way and Repairmen, Money Room Employees, and Automated Fare Collection (AFC) Technicians, Customer Service Agents (CSA), Dispatchers, and Clerks. Local 589 is part of the Amalgamated Transit Union, comprised of over 197,000 transit workers across the United States and Canada.

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