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!

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Union’s Opposes Outsourcing of Warehouse Logistics at MBTA.

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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
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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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The MBTA Health and Welfare Annual Open Enrollment

The MBTA Health and Welfare Annual Open Enrollment period begins,  April 22, 2016 and ends May 20, 2016.   There is a total of 2,300 (Actives or Retirees) who have not enrolled in the Fund as of today.  Recently, these members received the attached inserts through the mail.

Also, those members who elected to be “Direct Bill” will receive a statement for FY16 next week.  Payment is due by May 20, 2016.  If payment is not received the
Health and Welfare Benefits will be terminated.

If you are not enrolled this is a copy of the letter you should have recieved.

Transit Employees Health and Welfare Fund

10 Park Plaza, Suite 4810

Boston, MA 02116

Open Enrollment Period

April 22, 2016 – May 20, 2016

April 22, 2016

 

 

Dear MBTA Active Employee and Retiree:

 

You are receiving this notification as you are currently not enrolled in the Transit Employees Health and Welfare Fund. This is an opportunity for those who are not currently enrolled in the H&W Fund to participate, effective July 1, 2016. The Open Enrollment period begins April 22, 2016 through May 20, 2016.

 

If you elect NOT to join the Fund during this time, you will need to wait until the next Health and Welfare Annual Enrollment period in 2017, with a benefit effective date of July 1, 2017.

 

If you chose to participate in the Fund you must complete, sign and date the Health and Welfare Enrollment form. Currently, there is an annual administrative cost of $24.00. This cost is for the administration of these supplemental benefits offered through the Fund.

 

Active employee benefits:

  • Delta Dental benefits for full time active employees with premium cost share of 57% by the Authority and 43% employee paid
  • Life insurance policy in the amount of $25,000 for full-time employees and $6,000 for part-time employee, 100% paid by the Authority
  • Vision care, cost sharing of 25% by the Authority and 75% employee paid

 

Retiree benefits:

  • Medicare Part B premium reimbursed by the Authority for qualified retirees and their spouses

age 65 or older

  • Life insurance policy in the amount of $5,000, 100% paid by the Authority
  • Vision care, currently provided by Davis Vision, 100% paid by retiree

 

The Fund enrollment form, along with the enrollment forms for Delta Dental for active full time employees and Davis Vision are enclosed.   If you wish to participate in these benefits, the forms must be received by the Benefits Office, at the address below, no later than Friday, May 20, 2016. If you have any questions you can call the Benefits office at 617-222-3244.

 

Transit Employees Health and Welfare Fund

10 Park Plaza, Suite 4810

Boston, MA 02116

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Secretary,

Board of Trustees

Transit Employees Health and Welfare Fund

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House nixes gas tax hike, film tax credit cut

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE on Monday shot down proposals to increase the gas tax and put a cap on the state’s film tax credit program as they began to dispense with more than 1,300 amendments to the annual state budget bill.

The House swiftly took care of more than 30 revenue-related amendments to the $39.48 billion budget, rejecting four and voting to study two others. The rest were withdrawn by their sponsors after behind the scenes talks.

The gas tax and film tax credit amendments, both filed by Rep. Angelo Scaccia, were rejected on voice votes.

Calling it the “biggest boondoggle” he has seen in his long legislative career, Scaccia argued for Massachusetts to cap its film tax credit at $40 million. Gov. Charlie Baker has also targeted the credit, which supporters say has enabled the state to grow its film industry sector.

“We have to get rid of this boondoggle,” said Scaccia.House leadership has traditionally provided strong support for the tax credit. House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano opposed Scaccia’s amendment, noting a Braintree company employs 14 accountants who work in the sector and “wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have a film tax credit.”

Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante described the credit as a benefit for parts of the state that miss out on programs geared toward urban areas or specific industries. She pointed to several movies filmed in her North Shore district, including The Proposal, The Perfect Storm and Joy.

“I don’t begrudge gateway cities and larger cities for the amount of money they get, I do not begrudge Boston from having a whole MBTA travel system,” Ferrante said. “However, it is upsetting to me when I hear folks from larger cities complain about a program that directly results in a benefit for my district and to other districts that simply do not qualify for the benefits that larger cities get. I also am concerned and upset when I see tax credits go mainly to the businesses of white collar workers, because once again those aren’t the tax credits that benefit my district.”

Scaccia had also sought to increase the state’s tax on gasoline from 24 cents per gallon to 27 cents per gallon, saying during debate on the amendment that he was “not here to raise taxes per se” but wanted to address the way the state pays for transportation. The gas tax increase could help the MBTA move away from using capital funds to pay for operating expenses, which “does not make financial sense” Scaccia said.

Rep. Geoff Diehl, a chief proponent of the 2014 ballot campaign that repealed automatic gas tax increases, countered that the MBTA has sufficient revenue to cover its personnel expenses and road construction but must manage its money better. He said Massachusetts spends over four times the national average to repair roads, and 49 percent of the gas tax revenues go to the T.

During his arguments for an amendment to study reducing the state sales tax to 5 percent, Scaccia noted the MBTA was one of the few areas targeted for major investments in the budget, with $93 million more.

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T board wants all-night service proposal vetted

 

Via Commonwealth Magazine

By Bruce Mohl

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THE MBTA OVERSIGHT BOARD on Monday put on hold a plan to add additional bus routes to mitigate the cancellation of late-night service until a more sweeping proposal for all-night bus service can be vetted.

The T’s Fiscal Management and Control Board was intrigued enough by a proposal put forth on March 30 in CommonWealth magazine by three transportation advocates – Ari Ofsevit, Jeremy Mendelson, and James Aloisi – to put on hold a staff recommendation to add the bus routes.

In their article, the three advocates suggested expanding an existing bus service for early-morning workers to provide all-night service every day of the week. The proposal called for selected buses to run on an hourly basis during the night from most areas served by the T to a central point such as Copley Square, where passengers could make connections to their final destination. One bus route would run to Logan Airport, where nearly half of all shifts begin before MBTA service starts. The advocates said they believed the expanded service “would cost on the order of $1 million per year.”

While state transportation officials were skeptical of the $1 million figure, members of the control board wanted more information about the proposal before taking any action. They asked T officials to examine the cost of the proposed service and its ability to serve low-income and minority riders.

The debate rekindled a sensitive subject for the T. The transit agency last month canceled its late-night service on weekend nights because of concerns about the high cost. Just before the service was shut down, the Federal Transit Administration said the T needed to analyze whether cancellation of the service would disproportionately impact low-income and minority riders. The T had taken the view that cancellation of the late-night weekend service wasn’t a major service change that required review.

John Englander, the general counsel of the MBTA, said at Monday’s meeting of the control board that the impact of the service cancellation can be analyzed two ways: either on the population at large or just the T’s riders. He said a population analysis showed no disproportionate impact on minority and low-income residents, while the analysis of riders did show a disproportionate impact. As a result, Englander said, the T was not required to take any action to mitigate the impact of its late-night service cancellation, but could take voluntary steps to ease the impact.

Charles Planck, the T’s deputy chief operating officer, outlined a voluntary mitigation plan that called for additional service on seven bus routes on some mornings between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and on weekends. Planck said the mitigation plan, with a cost of more than $600,000, would have to be approved by the board by April 15 to be implemented by the T on June 25.

Under questioning from control board members, Planck said the all-night, all-week service proposed by the three transportation advocates had attracted a lot of interest but not been vetted by T officials. State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack suggested the cost of the all-night service proposal would be a lot more than the bus route additions being proposed by the T. “It doesn’t seem like it would be able to be done for $1 million,” Pollack said of the proposal by the advocates.

Brian Lang, a member of the control board, said the T couldn’t afford to do both the T’s proposed mitigation effort and the all-night service, so he urged tabling the T’s proposal until the all-night service could be fully vetted.

Rafael Mares of the Conservation Law Foundation said the two options were not incompatible. He said the T could add the bus routes now and, if the all-night approach panned out, add it on later. By taking no action until a full cost analysis of the all-night service is done, Mares said, low-income and minority riders of the T could suffer without any late-night service until the fall.

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Lilly Ledbetter tells union women about ongoing struggle for equal pay

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By Mark Gruenberg

SILVER SPRING, Md. –  Despite some gains in recent years – including legislation named for her that lets women and minorities sue for equal pay for equal work – women still face a tough road to equal pay, activist Lilly Ledbetter says.

“Some single mothers work two jobs and extra time on weekends and still can’t pay their bills,” the soft-spoken but determined grandmother from Birmingham, Ala., told several hundred union women gathered in the D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Md., for the Coalition of Labor Union Women’s Election 2016: What’s At Stake two-day conference.

That’s because working women suffer widespread pay discrimination, and even though they can sue for back pay, thanks to the law named for her, they still face a long and hard slog to get it, Ledbetter said.

With Equal Pay Day scheduled for April 12 – the day marking when a working woman earns enough in one year plus extra months to equal what a working man earned the previous year alone-the unionists brainstormed on tactics to raise the issue of equal pay for equal work and other issues important to working women to the top of the 2016 campaign agenda.

Ledbetter, who rose to prominence as a campaigner for equal pay when the U.S. Supreme Court turned her pay discrimination case down – on a 5-4 vote in 2007 – agreed with that priority, with special reference to the High Court’s role.

Ledbetter, a retired 19-year supervisor at the Goodyear Tire Company plant in Birmingham, Ala., first found she was being discriminated against in pay when someone else slipped her an anonymous note near the end of her tenure saying that male supervisors, even with less experience than she had, earned more.

The difference, she told the CLUW group, reached 40 percent, despite her superior ratings in managing 52-60 workers at Goodyear. Ledbetter sued, Goodyear resisted, and she took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the GOP-named five-man majority threw out lower court verdicts in her favor.

Justice Samuel Alito, Ledbetter told CLUW, wrote the decision against her. If Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had not retired, Ledbetter said, she would have won her case. And even before that, Congress – a Republican Congress, though Ledbetter did not say so – cut maximum awards in cases like hers to $300,000. The Alabama jury had awarded her $3.8 million.

The Ledbetter case turned the country upside down, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg challenged the country and Congress to overturn the ruling. Lawmakers did so in 2009. “The Ledbetter bill kept the courtroom doors open,” after the court slammed them, she said.

That means the Supreme Court is extremely important to working women in this election, Ledbetter told CLUW.

The court has one vacancy, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, intellectual leader of its GOP-named right wing. President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C., to succeed Scalia, but the Senate’s ruling Republicans refuse even to hold a hearing on Garland, much less a vote.

“This is so critical to young people, who understand they don’t have equal pay,” Ledbetter explained. “And women and minorities have to understand that once it (equal pay) is gone, it’s gone.”

That’s because even in cases where women and minorities prove that firms discriminated by sex – as Ledbetter did against Goodyear – race, gender or more, the harmed workers rarely get back pay. Working women thus lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each. They also lose Social Security credit for what would have been higher pay.

“It’s not so much what happens to us, but how we react to it, and what do we do to change it,” Ledbetter said of her fight, and the fights of other women for equal pay for equal work that she cited.

Union women must be in the forefront of the fight and unions are key to it, Ledbetter added. “You union people are very supportive and we can’t get our unions taken away in this country,” she declared.

The Goodyear plant where Ledbetter worked is unionized, with the Steelworkers, and she has said previously that if the contract had covered her – it did not, because she was a supervisor – the pay discrimination would not have occurred.

The role of the courts and the right wing’s ideological push to pack them was one key issue CLUW delegates discussed on April 8. Others included the big picture of the election, with emphasis on what working women’s issues will be important, attacks on women’s health, so-called right to work legislation, key races and how CLUW members can make a difference.

CLUW President Connie Leak, an autoworker, struck those themes, and related them to the upcoming election. She didn’t name candidates, but made it clear that one of the two major parties – the GOP – follows the lead of the Republican-named High Court justices.

“Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?” Leak asked. “We have to do this because we know what we are facing. I don’t have to call out no names because the names are the ones we don’t want to be in charge” in the White House, she stated.

“So that means getting off your rusty-dustys. It’s being about the fight.”

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