In 2013 Community Labor United (CLU) brought together the Carmen’s Union, other ATU locals and transit rider groups across the state to work with our elected officials to discuss how to best invest in one of the most important economic drivers in the state--our public transit system. Together, we secured $2.5 billion in state funding for public transit and a 5% cap on fare increases to protect the most vulnerable riders who could not afford dramatic increases in fares every year. This was a tremendous victory and an important first step for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and we thank you again for your leadership in making this happen.
Unfortunately, these victories are threatened by language in the House budget that would exempt the MBTA from the Tax Payer Protection Act (also known as the Pacheco Law) for a period of five-years. Under Governor Weld, thousands of human service workers’ jobs were contracted out and excessive salaries were awarded to private vendors. All of these excesses were paid for by slashing salaries and benefits of these workers. The Pacheco Law created a set of standards that must be met before a private contract displaces a public service. I am very concerned that a five-year waiver of the Pacheco Law would open the door to driving down job standards and wages at the MBTA, which would in turn destabilize many of the communities where MBTA workers live.
We are no longer fooled by band-aid solutions that require raising fares or cutting services or gutting wages. CLU and our partners understand that the best solutions will come from working together with our legislators to continue finding ways to invest more concrete resources in our public transit system. A five-year waiver of the Pacheco Law would open the door to more false solutions and allow unscrupulous contractors to slash wages and benefits, threatening the livelihoods of MBTA workers, their families, and the neighborhoods they live in.
We, the undersigned, call on state representatives to co-sponsor and vote for House Budget Amendment #665 offered by Representative Collins, and to keep public transit for the entire public good.
The Join the Fight to Keep Public Transit for the Public Good petition to The State House was written by Danielle Simpson and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.