Update on Thursday, Aug. 3: The MBTA Board of Directors voted unanimously to allow Phil Eng, the T’s general manager, to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. The agreement will remain in effect through June 30, 2027.
The MBTA and its largest workers' union have reached a new bargaining agreement after months of negotiations.
At a press conference Wednesday at the MBTA Cabot Yard facility, Gov. Maura Healey revealed some details of the agreement, affecting more than 6,000 T employees. She said it will provide an 18% wage increase over four years, “the largest pay increase for T workers since the 1990s.”
Healey said the agreement outlines sign-on bonuses for new hires and pay incentives for existing workers. It also expands benefits like dental and vision coverage for part-time employees.
“These are opportunities that current T workers deserve and they will help us bring more workers into the workforce to meet the needs of our system now and going forward,” Healey said.
The transit system has been aggressively trying to hire hundreds of workers. The Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589, members include bus drivers, train operators, and repair and maintenance workers.
The new contract was not yet publicly available Wednesday afternoon. The MBTA board of directors is scheduled to meet Thursday to ratify it.
An analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that the T would need to hire 2,800 workers by the end of the year to ensure safety and progress on the system. MBTA General Manager Phil Eng, who joined the T in April, has said hiring and employee retention is among his top priorities.
At the press conference, Eng said the new agreement demonstrates to workers “just how much we value them.” He said the pay increases and signing bonuses included in the contract make the T more competitive in the transit industry and will make jobs at the T more attractive to potential employees.
Local 589 President Jim Evers said the agreement addresses some long standing worker issues, like “improving employee restroom access, expanding bereavement leave to include domestic partners and clarifying language pertaining to assaults on our drivers.”
Gov. Healey said the deal marked a "significant step forward in labor relations and a strong partnership with this administration.”
This article was originally published on August 02, 2023.