“We’re all in this together!” is a rallying cry that has brought our members together, in service to the public, for more than a century.
Carmen’s Union members moved the people of Greater Boston through the flu pandemic of 1918 just as we have through the COVID-19 pandemic this year. A Boston Globe story from November 1918 details plans to add hours to Carmen’s shifts to better meet the “peak load” of travel as the incidence of flu increased so that cars were less crowded.
Our Union was ready to serve then, and on behalf of the Executive Board, we couldn’t be prouder of the way our members have stepped up over the past six months and continued to work during the worst days of this global coronavirus pandemic.
Our members were, and still are, on the front lines every day. We’ve taken on the challenge of COVID-19 in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in public safety, health care, and the retail and service industries. We stand with all the essential workers who don’t have the luxury of working from home. We’re proud that we get T riders safely where they need to go, and we’re committed to keep Boston’s economic engine revving.
As we recognize Labor Day 2020 and look ahead, we know that every resident of the Commonwealth needs to be concerned about our common health. MBTA officials, workers and riders all need to be committed to safety on the T. Boston’s economy can’t come back to life unless riders are confident and comfortable boarding buses, trains and trolley cars. We all have a role to play.
For us, this means wearing a mask while riding or working near the public or our brothers and sisters. For employers, that means considering shifting work schedules to off peak hours where possible. For riders, that means covering their faces, doing their best to maintain distance on vehicles and in stations and treating drivers and train operators with respect.
We’ve worked closely with the MBTA in the past six months to advocate for safety measures to keep our riders and members safe. Some safety measures came easily, and others like back-door boarding took more effort. We continue to encourage the T to employ and expand its innovative use of passenger counting equipment on buses to notify riders about overcrowding. This effort should be expanded to all service modes and the T should deploy work-as-directed buses and trains to run extra trips on high ridership routes.
Just as we were in 1918, the Carmen’s Union is prepared to add time to shifts or add shifts for members in order to get riders where they need to go safely—again, the comfort and confidence of riders is what will bring Boston back to life.
We wish you all a safe and happy Labor Day! Let’s all commit to each other that we’ll each do our part. Boston is a transit-first city — we have been for over a century — and we know that our membership is ready to welcome riders back, safely.
We are all in this together.
Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589