ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Union members gathered to protest the privatization of the MBTA at the Central Square bus stop on Wednesday.
By GAYLA CAWLEY and THOMAS GRILLO
LYNN — Three dozen union members demonstrated at the MBTA Station in Central Square Wednesday to protest the Baker administration’s efforts to outsource jobs.
“Privatization doesn’t work,” said James O’Brien, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents more than 6,000 T workers. “If they privatize our bus services, it’s going to be on the backs of our riders and taxpayers of Massachusetts.”
The union has been holding what they call “informational rallies” at the region’s T stations. Members say privatization will lead to cuts in service, higher fares and even poorer maintenance.
They oppose the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board vote last month to privatize the transit agency’s so-called “money room” operation that employs 70 T workers.
The panel awarded a five-year, $18.7 million contract to Virginia-based Brink’s to oversee the T’s cash handling. Last summer, an independent security consultant found that millions of dollars collected from riders end up at the building in Charlestown. The review found widespread security issues at the facility that collects and counts about $119 million in cash annually. The MBTA said using outside workers would save more than $8 million in the first year.
But O’Brien insists going private will cost taxpayers even more. He fears Gov. Charlie Baker wants to expand outsourcing.
“If a private corporation comes in here and buys a portion of bus routes, they’re going to want to make a profit off of the taxpayers of Massachusetts,” he said.
Robert Didrikson, president of Local 600 MBTA Inspectors Union, said it’s essential to save these union jobs.
“It’s important for the public to keep this as public transportation,” he said.
Last year, the Baker administration convinced lawmakers to suspend the so-called Pacheco law. The measure limits the state from outsourcing jobs.
On the heels of the money room privatization, state Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) has called on lawmakers to prevent more outsourcing at the T.