Machinists’ Pressure Leads to MBTA Rescinding Job and Service Cuts

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has changed course about cutting service and laying off dozens of workers due to intense pressure the IAM exerted through lobbying and rallies. The MBTA now plans to include enough funding in its next annual budget to run buses and trains on the same schedule in place pre-pandemic.

Last Friday, the IAM and a coalition of other transit unions organized an innovative, online rally calling on the MBTA to reinstate their full pre-pandemic schedule. The rally, which was one of many by the IAM over the last year, garnered over 1,000 views and resulted in the MBTA reversing their plan amid the intense criticism.

“Our members and other union members put themselves in harm’s way during this deadly pandemic to provide this vital service to the public,” said IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian. “The Governor and the MBTA owed it to the workers and the riders to use the federal relief money they received to keep services running for the people who were hit hardest during this time.”

“The MBTA felt the full force of the power the IAM wields,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Although the MBTA received billions of dollars of relief from the government, their plan was to use the unfortunate events of the COVID pandemic to eliminate service and lay off workers. I am proud of how every Machinist stood up to them, fighting for their brothers and sisters and ensuring the people of their communities would have the same necessary access to public transportation as prior to the pandemic.”

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Updated: April 1, 2021 — 3:16 pm