BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) was one of more than a dozen lawmakers to stand with a coalition of transit workers against the MBTA’s aggressive privatization plans at a rally today at Faneuil Hall. The MBTA’s privatization scheme has already led to layoffs and reduced service, despite a recent increase in T fares borne by riders.
Representative Ultrino joined State Senators Tom McGee, Marc Pacheco, Sal DiDomenico, and more than a dozen other lawmakers at the rally.
“MBTA privatization hurts the consumer, it hurts the worker, it hurts the economy and it hurts the community,” said Representative Ultrino. “Unfortunately, the T’s plan isn’t about slimming down costs while improving service and identifying efficiencies. It’s about outsourcing jobs and slashing budgets at all costs, regardless of the impact on MBTA riders.”
Last week, MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve made clear that "everything's on the table" for potential outsourcing, including work transporting passengers. The Boston Carmen’s Union has opposed privatization of the MBTA since the suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act in 2015. For months, union worker have attempted to engage in contract negotiations that would save money for riders and the system. But MBTA leadership under the Baker Administration, Shortsleeve and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack have been committed to privatization at all costs.
In September, the MBTA took action to lay off nearly a third of its cleaning staff, resulting in deteriorating sanitation conditions across the public transportation system and loss of health care benefits for many remaining workers.
“Governor Charlie Baker, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, and Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve have made it clear that they’re determined to privatize more parts of the MBTA,” said Jimmy O’Brien, President of the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. “But that doesn’t mean that riders will get better service – as we’ve seen with Keolis and the commuter rail. It just means that private companies will be able to turn a profit off of our fares and our tax dollars.”
In June, the Boston Carmen’s Union presented a contract extension and cost savings proposal to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, providing the MBTA with $24 million in cost savings over the next four years, and the potential to save over $190 million over the next two decades.