May 19, 2009

4 MBTA unions agree to wage freeze

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Transportation Secretary James Aloisi and T General Manager Daniel Grabauskas announced that four Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) unions have voluntarily agreed to a one-year deferment of the four percent raises that were granted by an arbitrator last year. The raises were to take effect July 1st, the start of a new fiscal year for which the T projects a $160 million deficit.

"We need everybody to pitch in to help deal with this crisis in transportation financing," said Gov. Patrick. "I appreciate the willingness of these workers to freeze their wages and for demonstrating their cooperative spirit in the face of difficult economic realities."

Members of the Office and Professional Employees International - Local 453; Welders - Local 651; and Professional and Technical Engineers - Local 105 have already voted to defer the raises, while the executive board of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - Local 717, has endorsed the action, and will soon bring it to their full membership. The four unions represent more than 500 workers at the MBTA.  Grabauskas said the unions' willingness to defer the raises will reduce the MBTA payroll, along with FICA and pension expenses, by approximately $1.65 million in the Fiscal Year 2010 (FY2010) budget.

Noting that 273 non-union employees will forego raises for the fourth year in a row, Aloisi and Grabauskas have asked the MBTA's other labor groups, including the largest, the Boston Carmen's Union - Local 589, to join the four unions which have already agreed to a wage freeze this year.

If the MBTA's other unions, representing everyone from bus drivers to transit police, make a similar concession, the MBTA stands to save about $17.3 million in the FY 2010 budget, according to authority officials.

 

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