My name is Jim Evers. I am the new President of the Boston Carmen’s Union, representing over 4,100 hardworking members of the MBTA.
I may be new to the Presidency but I am not new to this Union, this Executive Board, or the fight for our members.
Once again, we find ourselves having to fight for our work. Today, I am here because this Board is considering – once again – the option to outsource the work for 60 new buses to a private company that lacks the experience, knowledge, and dedication needed to get the job done.
Four years ago, the Carmen’s Union fought against privatization to save our jobs and do what we thought was is in the best interest of the MBTA. Yet, here we are again. Public transportation should be kept public, and the MBTA should be investing in the infrastructure, not finding ways to privatize.
Last month, a report was issued citing safety concerns at the MBTA. Management has made decisions that have compromised safety for far too long. The Boston Carmen’s Union has raised concerns related to MBTA safety for years, both publicly and behind closed doors— about insufficient staffing, deficiencies in leadership, and prioritizing cost savings at the expense of safety.
The Boston Carmen’s Union has expressed its commitment – both publicly and to the MBTA – to work with management to address deficiencies and provide the feedback and guidance needed to improve safety, reliability, and service for our riders. You need our guidance because we know this system better than anyone. For the same reason, we should remain the operators of MBTA buses.
Everywhere you look at the MBTA, you will find examples of privatization gone wrong. That’s because privatization isn’t the answer for our public transportation system.
Whether it’s a lack of reliable service from Keolis on the Commuter Rail, overspending, money room failures, or broken fare gates at stations – our riders continue to see mismanagement and ineffectiveness from these private companies who made big promises and fell short. And its not just in Boston – you can look to examples all over the country for more.
An investment in buses is the right way to go, we’re happy to see the MBTA move forward with this initiative. But, for over 100 years the Boston Carmen’s Union has been responsible for operating our trains and buses and for over 100 years, we have done that job well.
Drivers and operators have been long forced to do a lot with little. We have operated and repaired outdated, broken equipment for decades and done whatever was needed to keep the system running. Our bus drivers and operators are the right people to do the job and we’ve been proving it all these years.
I also want to thank everyone for the support and show of solidarity today. We have numerous legislators, labor organizations and pretty much every union on the MBTA property come together for the first time in years. I am proud to be part of this labor movement and rest easy knowing there is an array of help ready to fight.