New T contract forgoes raises, but protects most jobs from privatization

The Boston Globe | By Nicole Dungca
December 19, 2016

MBTA officials on Monday approved a four-year, nearly $1.5 billion contract with the T’s largest union under which workers will forgo raises this year, while the majority of their jobs will be protected from privatization.

The agreement came before the current contract had even expired, a rare move that underscored how Carmen’s Union Local 589 felt threatened by the public transit agency’s moves to outsource jobs to save money. Under the new agreement, the group will defer a 2.5 percent raise previously promised this summer, and beginning wages for new drivers would be cut.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack characterized the agreement, approved Monday by the agency’s fiscal and management control board, as a “game-changing and transformative” agreement that produces wins for the MBTA and the Carmen’s Union. She said it would save about $81 million over four years.

Under the new contract, subway and bus driving jobs, as well as bus maintenance jobs will be safe from outsourcing, and work rules will change so that Carmen’s Union workers will be unable to log overtime hours unless they’ve worked a full, 40-hour work week.

“The issue of the MBTA was not privatization as an ideological matter, but productivity,” Pollack said. “We needed to have productivity, either from our workers or the private sector.”

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