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News :: Labor
200 Workers Protest Privatization of the T - Faneul Hall - 12 Oct 2016
12 Oct 2016
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Sam Adams.jpg
Over two hundred workers and supporters held a rally at Faneul Hall Marketplace at the Sam Adams statue. With signs and leaflets the workers appealed to the public to resist the austerity drive by the government and transit system managers.

"What Do you Get With Privatization?" Headlined the leaflet handed out at the rally. Workers and supporters donned orange t-shirts representing the Coalition of MBTA Unions. Picket signs called for the end to Governor Charles Baker's privatization drive.

Two inflatable props flanked the speakers stage - a giant Fat Cat squeezing a hard hat worker - and a giant Pig representing the greedy bankers and Wall Street.

The noon rally was introduced by President Jimmy O'Brien of the Carmen's Union, with US Congressman Lynch speaking of the national problems with privatization and union busting at the Federal level. State Representative Marc Pacheco spoke about the laws passed in Massachusetts that were supposed to require the privatization of public work to take into account the lowering of workers standards of living and elimination of benefits. Rep Pacheco pointed out that the public must pay for low wage workers at privatized public jobs health insurance and often housing through Section 8 - while the privateers pocket the profits from low balled bids that hide the true cost of de-unionization.

The workers and leaders said that this is just the beginning to the fight to defend labor union jobs and all other workers standard of living.

A quote from the Carmen's Union web site: "When employers in this country say labor costs are too high, what they're really saying to you is, you have it too good. . .all you need is enough to get you into the plant and work." -- Boris Block

Last week, former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary James Aloisi wrote a detailed article ("Shutdown process costly for the T") for Commonwealth Magazine on the complicated and costly process the MBTA has to go through to shut its service down every night. The article cites independent data sources that show the process costs the MBTA $3.8 million dollars a year. Aloisi's point: there's got to be a better and more efficient solution.

Days later, Jeff Gonneville, the Chief Operating Officer for the MBTA responded to Commonwealth and Aloisi. Gonneville's response contains no facts -- none -- but claims Aloisi's estimate is off, by $3.3 million. Gonneville's argument uses a nice round number. He says the nightly shutdown costs just $500,000. He invites readers to go to MBTA's home page, where no data are available.

We've seen this movie before. It seems that once again, the MBTA is providing the public with fictional data without ever showing us where its numbers come from. We're reminded of our 7th grade math teacher who, in this instance, would say "the MBTA needs to start showing its work." The public deserves a fact-based and transparent discussion of how to improve the MBTA.

Facts matter. Make believe math won't fix our public transportation system.

This work is in the public domain
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