President O’Brien Testifies before FMCB in Support of IAM, Local 264

Jimmy O’Brien, Boston Carmen’s Union
FMCB Testimony
July 31, 2017

Jimmy O'Brien FMCB TestimonyMy name is James O’Brien, I am the President of the Boston Carmen’s Union, representing over 4,100 hardworking members of the MBTA.

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.

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    • jcmbta on August 2, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    contracting out repair work IMO is always a waste of taxpayer $$$.. to hide the waste, management just throws out the parts repaired , and covers up their failed actions.

    I have seen this and was part of the purchasing of defective parts/replacement parts from low bid supply companies.. with privatization these companies will purchase low quality parts and NOT do the maintenance at the proper time/use intervals..

    What does happen is the private company destroys the taxpayers vehicles with poor workmanship, and the whole system is destroyed.. sure in the beginning it looks like costs are lower , but after a few years , and the system starts failing, then its too late and the riding public does not get reliable service. then more costs and a lack of MBTA skilled workers since they are gone.

    the commuter line privatization did reveal what has been a long time study on other systems across the country ,with how bad this privatizing works ..

    too complicated to have a private company to take over the vehicle repairs. when these companies fail to perform , then the T is with no other way to fix it .

    the pension is working very good .. returns now are great much higher than wall street expected with the market soaring.. T management is not properly running this system with lots of waste…

    • JS on August 2, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I think it’s time to reinvent the Union and if we half to go back to do the things that made our people recognized then it’s time to tell the members to start saving as if we’re going to be out of work for a while,while we shut down the system.

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