Dirty jobs: MBTA janitors concerned over proposed cleaning contract

The MBTA Board of Directors will vote on proposed changes to its cleaning services that may result in eventual cuts to janitorial staff. A local union said that T riders would hurt janitors as well as the transit system's cleanliness. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
The MBTA Board of Directors will vote on proposed changes to its cleaning services that may result in eventual cuts to janitorial staff. A local union said that T riders would hurt janitors as well as the transit system’s cleanliness. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

A local union that represents the majority of the MBTA janitors staff is concerned that a proposed cleaning contract would cut an estimated 30 percent of the T’s cleaning staff, eventually reducing it from 315 janitors to 225.

The MBTA Board of Directors is expected to vote on the proposals Wednesday. If approved, SEIU Local 615 insists that public transit riders will “see, feel and smell the effects of dirtier stations.”

“From our perspective, we can’t see how the T riders cannot see the cuts. It will be a very substantial reduction in staff,” said Ingrid Nava, general counsel for SEIU Local 615.

Bidders would only have to maintain current employment levels for one year.

“The result would be that the MBTA… is now drastically destroying the good jobs that they’ve created in the past. The bids that are in call for massive cuts in year two,” she said.

Transit officials argue that the new contract would be good news for the system.

T Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the changes aim to save money, but will also provide “a cleaner and safer environment for employees and customers.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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