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News :: Labor
Boston Carmen’s Union Pickets, Shuts Down MBTA Money Room - Defend Labor Union Jobs!
by Carmen's Union
07 Oct 2016
The Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589, facing a vote to privatize their work at the MBTA Money Room today, took a stand against the outsourcing of their work to a private company. Members of the Executive Board, joined by fellow MBTA Union leaders and members, formed a picket line at the Money Room in Charlestown, preventing Money Room workers and armored trucks from leaving the site.
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“We never wanted it to come to this, we have tried for months to convince the MBTA to join us for constructive negotiations at the bargaining table. But under the leadership of Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack the MBTA has repeatedly used misleading or incomplete financial projections to pursue privatization of the MBTA’s Money Room at all costs,” said James O’Brien, President of the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. “Today, we’re taking action to stop an outsourcing attempt. Nothing about this process has been transparent – the numbers, the audits, or the decision-making. This leadership team was handed a blank check to privatize and they are doing whatever it takes to cash it. We cannot stand by while they privatize our public transportation system and turn the keys over to a private company seeking to profit from our riders’ fares and the public’s tax dollars.”
O’Brien also called for the full release of the audit that the MBTA says has proven the need for outsourcing. The audit, conducted by Shellie Crandall of 4Demand, was the source of a baseless charge from Governor Baker that “someone cut sunroofs into two of the armored trucks used by the T to transport money.”
Media Coverage: Local 589 Fights Moves to Privatize Money Room
Below is some recent media coverage as Local 589 fights against the MBTA’s move to privatize the money room.
Union promises fight as MBTA moves to privatize cash-counting jobs Boston Globe | By Nicole Dungca | October 5, 2016
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is poised to privatize dozens of jobs in its cash-counting department, which would mark Governor Charlie Baker’s first major move to outsource positions in the transit system.
These are our jobs,” said James O’Brien, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents many of the 72 workers in the cash-counting department. “We’ve been doing it a long time.”
On Wednesday, O’Brien said there are closer to 40 people in the department, not 70 as the MBTA has stated, and expressed concern that a private company “would come in and underbid the contract.”
“They’re there to make a profit on the back of the taxpayers,” he said.
MBTA turns to Brink’s to run ‘money room,’ looks to cut 72 jobs Boston Herald | By Matt Stout | October 5, 2016
The Herald reported last week that the Carmen’s Union had sent letters to potential bidders warning them that the union could take “legal action” to stall the contract if its labor agreements weren’t honored. The T has rejected the union’s argument.
The T also released a photo last week to the Herald showing a money room employee laying on the floor on a yoga mat, as wads of cash lay on a table nearby. Jim O’Brien, president of the Carmen’s Union, claims that the employee is not a member of his union but a supervisor.
T says hiring Brink’s would save millions Commonwealth Magazine | By Bruce Mohl | Oct 5, 2016
As Shortsleeve was briefing reporters on Wednesday in a conference room next to his office, officials from the Boston Carmen’s Union came in uninvited to the room to listen to his presentation. Afterward, they disputed some of Shortsleeve’s numbers and said existing federal law may require Brink’s to hire the affected T workers. T officials sharply disputed the union’s interpretation of federal law.
Despite the new law exempting the MBTA from what are considered onerous privatization restrictions, O’Brien said his union will fight the effort to turn over money room jobs to outside contractors. “They’re our jobs. We’d like to continue doing that work,” O’Brien said.
The union chief said he and his coworkers crashed the press briefing because Shortsleeve has not shared information with them. “This is not a transparent process,” he said. “It’s like this has already been decided. The way he makes it sound, this is going through tomorrow with no problem…They’re not being transparent on this,” he said. “The public deserves to know how their money is going to be spent and where it’s going to be spent.”
This work is in the public domain.