Boston Transit Workers Protest Gov’s Privatization Plans
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Boston Transit Workers Protest Gov’s Privatization Plans

August 26, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Lynn, Mass.—Hundreds of Boston-area transit workers rallied outside the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s garage here Aug. 15, protesting Gov. Charlie Baker’s plans to outsource bus maintenance to private companies. “Gov. Baker has chosen to gamble with the taxpayers, the safety of riders and the livelihoods of these hardworking men and women,” said International Association of Machinists Local 264 head Michael Vartabedian. “We won’t let core public services like MBTA bus maintenance be dismantled and destroyed.” MBTA officials say outsourcing nine garages could save up to $40 million a year, and the agency is reviewing bids from potential contractors. Vartabedian told the Merrimack Valley Eagle-Tribune that the Machinists have offered an alternative plan that could save as much as $27 million, but Baker administration officials “haven’t even put a counter-proposal on the table.” Sen. Ed Markey joined the rally, telling workers that the MBTA should “not make them sacrificial offerings to the private sector.” The MBTA, acting under a three-year suspension of a law requiring the state to audit privatization proposals, outsourced its warehouse operations and money collections earlier this year. It had considered privatizing bus drivers’ jobs, but a deal with Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 halted that. Read more

August 26, 2017

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