Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement

 

Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement

By
John Marion

2 September 2017

The privatization of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) serving greater Boston is moving forward, amidst allegations of mismanagement and corruption on the part of state officials. This has included the hiring of a General Executive to head the system with no previous transportation experience and conflicts of interest in the hiring of contractors.

After record snowfalls in February 2015 caused the near-collapse of Boston’s public transportation system, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker jumped at the opportunity to use the crisis as an excuse for the privatization of the system. The MBTA — including buses, subways, trolleys, and heavy commuter rail — had been a public agency for more than 50 years.

Baker created an unelected Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), which has attacked workers’ benefits while privatizing cash handling, spare parts warehouses, customer service jobs, and now three of the system’s bus maintenance yards. In December 2016 the FMCB used the threat of privatization to force Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589, the largest MBTA union, into a deal (HYPERLINK “http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/12/22/mbta-d22.html”http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/12/22/mbta-d22.html ) which slashed raises in a contract that wasn’t set to expire for another two years.

A Human Resources Workforce & Strategy update, summarizing the first six months of this year and available on the FMCB’s web site, states that 746 workers have been “separated,” through being either fired or goaded into early retirement agreements. The average yearly salary of these workers is $76,000; the…

Read more