MBTA FMCB board gives $15m lift to Keolis.

Commonwealth Magazine | By Bruce Mohl | July 11, 2016

p23_Hyundai_carTHE MBTA’S OVERSIGHT BOARD on Monday approved a series of maintenance, repair, and scheduling changes for commuter rail service that are expected to improve on-time performance and boost the income of the cash-strapped private contractor, Keolis Commuter Services, by about $15 million a year.

James O’Brien, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, is leading the fight against efforts at the T to privatize agency operations. O’Brien told members of the Fiscal Management and Control Board that Keolis is the perfect example why transportation services shouldn’t be privatized. “Thirteen years after we outsourced the operation, privatization has clearly not delivered the improvements we were all promised,” he said. “Keolis is a glaring example of privatization gone wrong.”

To read more of the article, visit http://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/mbta-board-gives-15m-lift-to-keolis/.

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on MBTA FMCB board gives $15m lift to Keolis.

IAM Voices Heard at DNC Platform Meeting

IAM International President Bob Martinez spoke passionately about issues affecting Machinists Union members and all workers at the Democratic Platform Meeting in Orlando, FL.

IAM International President Bob Martinez spoke passionately about issues affecting Machinists Union members and all workers at the Democratic Platform Meeting in Orlando, FL.

IAM members across the country had a seat at the table last week at the Democratic Party Platform meeting in Orlando, FL. IAM backed amendments will help advance issues that affect working families.

The Democratic Platform Committee sets the party’s agenda going into the 2016 election. With the help of the IAM and other unions, this year’s platform is being called the most progressive in the history of the Democratic National Committee.

IAM International President Bob Martinez spoke in support of an amendment offered by AFSCME President Lee Saunders that will set the highest possible standards for worker and environmental protections and significantly strengthen enforcement and accountability tools for trade deals. The amendment passed, 117 to 64.

“Trade agreements like TPP will cost our nation hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not millions,” said Martinez. “Let’s be clear, we are not opposed to trade, but we want fair trade, not free trade.”

Working into the early hours of the morning, delegates adopted amendments the IAM put forward on the Export-Import Bank, NASA funding and full employment.

“Unlike those that only pay lip-service to creating jobs, we mean what we say and we’ll put in place the programs that achieve this,” said Martinez. “This amendment makes clear our commitment to full employment and high paying jobs that will secure our economy well into the future.”

Watch Martinez testify on trade, the Export-Import Bank (Part I, Part II), NASA funding and full employment.

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on IAM Voices Heard at DNC Platform Meeting

Carmen’s Union offers $24m savings plan.

 MBTA_T_logo-300x300

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

A MAJOR LABOR GROUP representing MBTA workers proposed a plan on Monday that it said would net $24 million in savings over four years for the transportation authority as it seeks to eliminate its $80 million structural deficit in fiscal 2018.

The proposal would add two years to the Boston Carmen’s Union contract, which expires July 1, 2018, adding wage increases of 1.5 percent for those two years, which is a smaller bump than usual. The proposed agreement would allow the T to privatize its central warehouse operations while prohibiting the transit agency from privatizing other services – such as cash-handling, where union members collect and count cash for the T.

MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve praised the union for working to reduce expenses, though he cautioned that plans for savings at the MBTA “can’t be entirely back-loaded.” He said more immediate savings are needed on flexible contracting, pensions, and the duration of the work week.

Shortsleeve said the Carmen’s plan generates $2 million to $3 million in savings over the first few years while privatizing the money room would generate an estimated $4 million to $5 million in savings.

Lawmakers in 2015 gave the MBTA a three-year window without statutory restrictions on outsourcing, and Shortsleeve said it is “unlikely” the T would “concede much” from that relief.

“They certainly want to be part of the solution here,” Shortsleeve told reporters ahead of Monday’s meeting of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. Shortsleeve said reforming the rules around overtime would be a good way to achieve savings. [During the meeting, Shortsleeve also thanked the Carmen’s Union for offering to reduce annual wage increases to 1.5 percent rather than the previous pattern of 2.5 percent.]

Thomas Roth, a labor consultant for the union and president of The Labor Bureau Inc., said over the past decade the average annual wage increase has been 2.7 percent.

The carmen’s union also finds a lot of its proposed savings through people not yet working for the MBTA. The plan would exact an 11 percent wage reduction for the first four years of service on fulltime employees hired after July 1. Part-time employees would receive an 8 percent reduction in wages over their first six years of employment.

“For months now we’ve been asking to have a seat at the table,” Boston Carmen’s Union President James O’Brien told the control board on Monday. He said over 25 years the plan could save the T $190 million.

Control board member Brian Lang, who is president of the union Unite Here Local 26, said it is “very common” for labor organizations to share cost-reduction plans with management.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” Lang said of the Carmen’s push. He said, “I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to work something out.”

Sen. Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat, told the control board the proposal is “something that we should be looking at very seriously.”

The Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, counts more than 4,100 T employees among its members, including bus drivers, customer service agents and money room employees.

 

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Carmen’s Union offers $24m savings plan.

Make Your Fourth of July Barbecue Union Made

Made-in-America-Make-Your-Fourth-of-July-Barbecue-Union-Made_blog_post_fullWidthVIA AFL-CIO and Labor 411

It’s Made in America week and we’ll be spotlighting a different product area every day so that working families can show their solidarity for their sisters and brothers. First up, we know many of you will be planning barbecues for the Fourth of July.

Text MADE to 235246 for more union-made in America product lists.

Our lists are courtesy of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s website Labor 411; Union Plus; the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Beer

  •  Budweiser
  •  Coors
  •  Miller
  •  Pabst
  •  Sam Adams

See more beers from Union Plus.

Coolers

  •  Rubbermaid

Flags

  •  Artflag

Games

  •  Battleship
  •  Candy Land
  •  Clue
  •  Connect Four
  •  Monopoly
  •  Twister
  •  Yahtzee

Grills

  •  Weber (Genesis, Summit, Q Series)

Hot Dogs

  •  Ball Park
  •  Butterball
  •  Hebrew National
  •  Hormel
  •  Oscar Mayer

Ice Cream

  •  Breyers
  •  Good Humor
  •  Prairie Farms
  •  Tillamook

Snacks 

  • Flipz pretzels
  • Frito-Lay chips
  • Triscuit crackers
  • Wheat Thins crackers
  • Oreo cookies (Note: The AFL-CIO has endorsed the BCTGM’s boycott of Nabisco products made in Mexico because Mondelēz International, Nabisco’s parent company, continues to outsource product lines and middle-class American jobs to Mexico. Before you buy Oreos or any Nabisco-brand products, check the label to make sure you are buying American-made snacks. Learn how to check the label.)

Sunscreen

  •  Bain de Soleil
  •  Coppertone
Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Make Your Fourth of July Barbecue Union Made

Local 264 Team gets 8th place overall at 2016 Roadeo.

The International Bus Roadeo includes competition events for both bus operators and bus mechanics. Awards are given in each practice area and there is an overall grand prize for the transit system with the highest combined score for the bus operator and bus maintenance team. The competition takes place the Sunday prior to APTA’s Bus and Paratransit Conference. Roadeo activities begin on the Friday before the conference with an orientation and culminate on Tuesday night at the Roadeo Banquet.

The Roadeo Committee’s goals are to provide the most equitable competition possible, encourage the highest degree of professionalism in bus operators and mechanics, and build camaraderie among all those who compete. Through sportsmanship and pride of work, the APTA International Bus Roadeo stands as a symbol of the important role bus operators and mechanics play in providing transit’s customers with safe, reliable service.

The 264 Bus Maintenance Roadeo Team from the MBTA had quite a good showing at the 2016 International Bus Roadeo in Charlotte NC. They went on to win 1st place in the “Cummins Diesel/ Voith Transmission” event and finished 8th overall. The 264 members are (from left to right in white shirts): Dave Kwapis (maintenance instructor) and machinists Mike Maguire, Pete Mandile, and Mike Haywood. Congratulations to the guys!

DSC00691

 

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Local 264 Team gets 8th place overall at 2016 Roadeo.

Union’s Opposes Outsourcing of Warehouse Logistics at MBTA.

IMG_2767-e1443474110493

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board met again Monday 6/13 to explore more ways to privatize parts of the MBTA. This meeting focused on the stock rooms.

589 President Jimmy O’Brien, several members of Local 589, Local 264 Business Agent Craig Hughes, as well as Local 103 President Lou Antonellis all questioned the savings and accountability privatization would bring. The other point that was repeatedly made was why it was being privatized at all since the problems are due to mismanagement for years.

Here are a few links to more reports from the meeting.

  1. Legislators blast exploring privatizing T warehouse jobs
    Boston Globe | By Nicole Dungca | June, 13, 2016
  2. Legislators blast exploring privatizing T warehouse jobs
    Milford Daily News | By Andy Metzger/State House News Service | Jun. 13, 2016
  3. MBTA Mulls Outsourcing Warehouses and Jobs
    WGBH News | By Mike Deehan | June 13, 2016
Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Union’s Opposes Outsourcing of Warehouse Logistics at MBTA.

MBTA says it can’t reconcile fare data, cash deposits. GM Shortsleeve pushes for privatization.

MBTA_T_logo-300x300Via Commonwealth Magazine

MBTA OFFICIALS ACKNOWLEDGED on Monday that they still can’t reconcile what their fare machines are telling them is being collected and the money actually being deposited in the bank, a problem that first surfaced five years ago in a state audit. The officials said they want to outsource to a private company the operation of the T’s money room to get a handle on the problem and reduce costs.

While T officials said there’s no indication any fare money has been stolen, they don’t know for sure. The officials said there are discrepancies between the data provided by the MBTA’s 1,500 fare boxes on buses and trolleys and the more than 300 fare vending machines in stations and the bank slips the transit authority receives when it deposits the cash in the bank. Five years ago, the state audit indicated the discrepancies amounted to $20 million a year, or $100 million over five years.

Nick Easley, the authority’s director of flexible contracting, offered data indicating that nearly half the fare boxes the T tested recently reported cash totals that were inaccurate. He said nearly a quarter of the wireless information transferred between fare boxes and the T are unsuccessful.

While Easley did not put a dollar amount on the cash discrepancies, he harkened back to the 2011 audit in his presentation. “On [fare] boxes, we believe those variances could be a lot larger,” he told members of the Fiscal Management and Control Board. “This is not an equipment failure; it’s an entire system failure.”

Easley said the T surveyed other transportation officials around the country and did not find any that had similar problems. “Other transit agencies reconciled to the penny,” he said.

Easley said the T could save at least $8 million in costs by privatizing fare collection and by shifting the risk for any discrepancies over to the private operator. In addition, he said, the time between collecting cash and depositing it in the bank could be reduced; deposits currently take as long as five days.

The T says it collects $119 million in cash fares annually and the money room is contracted to count another $23 million in coins and cash from parking meters in Boston and Cambridge as well as cash tolls collected by the Department of Transportation. Officials say there has been no discrepancies uncovered in amounts collected from those other entities, just the T.

Brian Lang, the union representative on the Fiscal Management and Control Board, said “there doesn’t sound like there’s human error, or worse, theft,” and wondered if the MBTA’s planned upgrade to an automated fare collection system sometime in 2018 would solve many of the problems.

Brian Shortsleeve, the T’s chief administrator, said the agency cannot wait that long. “This is one of those areas where we do not have expertise,” he said. “This is an ongoing problem that needs to be rectified immediately.”

Missing revenue is a touchy subject for the MBTA after recent reports that several T parking lots operated by the private management company LAZ Parking were short on cash receipts. While officials did not broach it in the presentation Monday, James O’Brien, president of the Carmen’s Union, which also represents money room employees, reminded the Control Board members that it was a private company that lost cash.

“Safety and security is threatened when control is handed over to a private company that lacks the level of oversight we have now,” O’Brien said in public testimony prior to the board’s discussion. “Remember a few years ago the rogue employee of a privatizer who created fake T passes and sold them on Craigslist? How about the fraud recently uncovered at local MBTA parking lots, also under the management of a private company?”

Several counting room employees joined O’Brien in urging the board not to shut down the in-house counting house.

 “For the life of me, I can’t understand why this board would want an outside company counting our money,” said Patrick Coughlan, of Weymouth, a 20-year T employee, the last four in the money room. “You’ll be bringing in workers making a lower wage, with much less dedication to the company.” Board members opted not to take any action on the proposal.

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on MBTA says it can’t reconcile fare data, cash deposits. GM Shortsleeve pushes for privatization.

Changes at Local 264 & District 15.

imageAt the monthly member meeting held on Thursday May 26th, there were changes made and a position added here at Local 264, as well as changes within District 15. These changes were discussed and debated at the Executive Board meeting and the board felt that these changes would be beneficial to the entire local as a whole. The changes were presented to the membership, and discussed. The Local will be better across the board with these changes and the membership should feel that these changes will put and keep the local in an even better, more competitive, proactive position.

The changes are as follows:

Business Agent Jimmy Foley will take on Russ Gittlens locations. Jimmy has a deep knowledge and good relationships with Russ’s locations, so it should be a smooth transition.

Secretary Treasurer/Organizer Craig Hughes, has resigned his position to take a Business Agent position for IAM District 15, starting on July 1 Craig will be taking on BA Jimmy Foleys locations, with the most high profile being the MBTA.

Vice President Chris Gagne, has been appointed and voted in to the position of Secretary Treasurer/Organizer. He will take over Craigs duties starting Wednesday June 1 and work with Craig in order to move into the role seamlessly when Craig begins his BA position.

Executive Board Member Will Foley, has been appointed to the role of Vice President starting June 1.

Please support your brothers in their new roles and we thank them for everything they have done and will continue to do for this great local.

 

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Changes at Local 264 & District 15.

Make It a Union-Made Memorial Day Barbecue

Make-It-a-Union-Made-Memorial-Day-Barbecue_blog_post_fullWidthMemorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to the summer holiday season. While the day honors those who have given their lives defending the nation, the weekend also marks the start of grilling season. Here’s some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start.

Text MADE to 235246 for more union-made in America product lists.

Our list comes courtesy of Union Plus; the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s website Labor 411.

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Make It a Union-Made Memorial Day Barbecue

Stand With Verizon Workers for a Lunch Hour Rally in Boston

LogoJPEGVerizon Greedy

Boston Stands With Union Labor
Join Building Trades, Teachers, Firefighters, Machinists. Carmens Union,
Teamsters and More…
WEDNESDAY MAY 11, 2016
LUNCH HOUR RALLY
SUPPORT STRIKING VERIZON WORKERS

6 BOWDOIN SQUARE BOSTON.
(LOCATED ON CAMBRIDGE STREET BETWEEN CITY HALL AND MGH)
SEND A MESSAGE TO VERIZON
AMERICAN WORKERS ARE UNITED AGAINST GREED!
SUPPORTERS WILL BEGIN MARCHING AT
11:30AM FROM 3 LOCATIONS AND MEET AT BOWDOIN SQUARE AT NOON.
– THE HOOKER ENTRANCE AT THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE
– CITY HALL PLAZA
– POST OFFICE SQUARE PARK
If you plan on attending or if you have any questions contact Katie Hayden at khayden@massaflcio.org.

Posted in Featured Posts | Comments Off on Stand With Verizon Workers for a Lunch Hour Rally in Boston