MBTA Delays Planned Layoffs Of Janitors
BOSTON – The MBTA and its service contractors won’t be firing close to a third of the janitors who clean T stations and trains. Both the union representing the workers and MBTA management announced the proposed layoffs would be delayed indefinitely.
Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, the union representing the janitors, has for months been holding protests and working with sympathetic elected officials to stop the layoffs as part of a cost savings effort built into the current contract with cleaning service providers.
32BJ District 615 Director Roxana Rivera said, “We look forward to continuing to work with the MBTA and its cleaning contractors to find cost-saving alternatives that save taxpayer dollars while ensuring the quality service, safe jobs and standards of cleanliness that ...T riders deserve."
September 1st began the second year of a five year contract between the MBTA and two service companies that employ the custodians; ABM of Atlanta, GA and SJ Services of Danvers, MA. No staff reductions were allowed in year one. But the T encouraged contractors to bid on the work who could reduce costs and maintain service in years two through five. The union believes the primary source of the cost savings involves eliminating about 100 janitorial positions and passing the extra work off to the remaining employees.
According to MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo, “The MBTA has asked its cleaning contractors to delay the planned changes to staffing levels while we continue to hold discussions with SEIU.” For the immediate future, he added, the contractors will operate under the terms of the first year of the agreements, meaning no layoffs for now.
MBTA officials are not denying they are seeking cost cutting measures including job cuts. General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott told the Boston Globe recently that some janitors would have to lose their jobs as part of an agency wide cost savings program. Pesaturo said “the MBTA remains determined to implement a plan under which cleaning services are provided in the most cost-effective manner possible.”
In contract bid documents obtained by the union and provided to reporters, the MBTA does not seek to cut any management positions.
Efforts to reach ABM and SJ Services have been unsuccessful.
The union held a Labor Day “Rally for Good Jobs” on Monday at the Boston Common.