7 arrested in protests as board votes to privatize MBTA money counting - Metro US

7 arrested in protests as board votes to privatize MBTA money counting


A private security firm will now manage cash handling responsibilities at the MBTA after a unanimous vote by the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board Thursday.

Officials said they hope that Brink’s will lead to better service at a lower price than the services provided by the public employees working there now, pointing to both their economy of scale and expertise working with the T’s vending machine equipment, State House News Service reported.

The five-year, $18.7 million contract will save as muchas $8.6 million in the first year, officials told The Boston Globe.

An outside review earlier this year also found widespread security issues at the facility, and that a similar private operation would cost nearly half of the $8 million spent by the agency last year, WBZ reported.

The vote comes after seven top officials with the Boston Carmen’s Union were arrested that morning for protesting outside of the agency’s money room in Charlestown.

Those men were charged with unlawful assembly, according to the Globe.

Lou Antonellis, president of IBEW Local 103, praised those arrested and reportedly had blistering words for the public officials who supported the change.

“It’s private entities and corporate scum who want to feed at the public trough and this administration is jamming it down our goddamn throats,” he said, according to State House News.

Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 President Jimmy O’Brien was one of men arrested Thursday morning. He later put out a statement:

“We tried to engage the MBTA leadership in genuine negotiations to prevent privatization,” he wrote. “But today, while the Boston Carmen’s Union Executive Board was taking action to stop a rush to privatization, Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve was explaining in a press conference that every aspect of MBTA operations is being considered for outsourcing. That’s not what the State Legislature intended when this privatization authority was approved.

“We have many questions regarding the audit conducted – which remains unavailable to public view – and the numbers used to justify this rush to privatization. But the Fiscal and Management Control Board spent less than 10 minutes asking questions about this proposal before a unanimous vote of the board members in attendance – proof that, as we had expected, these decisions had already been made behind closed doors, and not in the transparent manner to which the Administration and the MBTA have said they are committed. The public and the riders deserve better. Even though this contract is moving forward, we’re not going to back down from this fight to stop privatization.”

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