Features, National, Transportation

Boston Transportation Authority Drops Bus-Privatization Plans

February 17, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

BOSTON, Mass.—The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority approved a new four-year contract with its bus mechanics Feb. 5 that drops its plan to outsource work at up to three garages. In exchange, Machinists Union Local 264 agreed to work-rule and overtime-pay changes expected to save the authority $60 million over the next 10 years. “It’s a win-win,” Local 264 business agent Michael Vartabedian told the Boston Globe. “For the riders, they keep the quality of the mechanics, number one in the nation. There are savings for taxpayers, and job security for our members…. And it provides the T the means to make their budget.” The union had fiercely opposed the outsourcing plan, on the grounds that it would have eliminated about 20% of the mechanics’ jobs and that the contractor interested in taking the work had paid the MBTA millions of dollars to settle breach-of-contract claims from the authority. The MBTA, which has used a three-year exemption from a state law limiting outsourcing to win concessions from unions, would still be able to hire outside contractors to do maintenance if it acquires more buses, Vartabedian said, but they would have to meet the same standards as in-house workers. Read more

February 17, 2018

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