August 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Boston, MA – With layoffs looming Sept. 1 for as many as one-third of the Boston area’s subway-station cleaners, their union has been ramping up protests at the State House and Massachusetts Transport Building.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, trying to reduce a $16 million cost overrun, wants to cut payments to its two cleaning contractors. That means up to 100 janitors will lose their jobs, said Roxana Rivera, vice president of their union, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ. “I think it's outrageous that the MBTA is trying to balance their budget on the backs of their lowest-paid workers,” said Cambridge Vice Mayor Marc McGovern. SEIU janitors in the Boston area make $18 an hour plus benefits, said 32BJ spokesperson Eugenio Villasante. Cleaning contractor S.J. Services said it would deal with the cuts by putting more workers on the evening shift, when stations are less crowded, but the union doesn’t believe that will work. “As it is now, we are not doing 100 percent, because there is too much work,” 11-year MBTA veteran Ivan Correa said in Spanish through an interpreter. Janitors who used to be responsible for one station now have to do two or three, he explained. Read more