MBTA janitors and a number of their supporters protested planned layoffs at the transit agency by occupying the lobby outside of Gov. Charlie Baker’s office Thursday.
"Everybody's for running a system efficiently, but we don't believe letting the MBTA stations be trashed is anything related to efficiency," Eugenio Villasante, a spokesman for the union representing the roughly 300 T janitors, SEIU 32BJ, told State House News.
"Who in Boston thinks the T stations are super clean? Most riders would say we need more and not less cleaners."
Baker was not in the office at the time of the protests.
But the governor was present Wednesday, when other union protestors — dressed as cockroaches — crashed a signing ceremony for a piece of pet protection legislation, chanting “don’t make a mess!”
The MBTA is struggling to close a more than $100 million structural deficit for this fiscal year, while also tackling a backlog of needed repairs slated to cost more than $7 billion, according to State House News.
Villasante told the news service that new contract changes will result in the elimination of 76 jobs. Under the plan, about 16 to 20 of those workers would be rehired part-time employees, which would place considerable financial strain on those making $18 an hour.
Acting MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve said in a statement earlier this month that “the MBTA is exercising an option under the originally negotiated contract and will continue to hold our vendors to the highest standards so our riders will be provided with a clean, comfortable and reliable transit system.”
The move will save the agency about $16 million over two years, spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told State House News.