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mbta-bus-2After months of negotiations, the MBTA and Machinists Union Local 264 have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that will save the T more than $60 million over the next 10 years while introducing changes to MBTA work rules that will improve the productivity of the T’s bus maintenance operation.

The agreement protects current work of Local 264 members to provide maintenance work for the MBTA’s current fleet of 955 buses while preserving the MBTA’s right to explore ways to further reduce costs on bus maintenance beyond the current fleet.

The Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) had directed the T to pursue a three-pronged strategy to achieve savings in bus maintenance operations:

  • Negotiate with the unions representing T bus maintenance employee;
  • Improve productivity through internal management changes;
  • Issue a Request for Proposals from private vendors to provide maintenance of MBTA-owned buses at up to three of the T’s nine bus maintenance garages.

“This new agreement adheres to the Board’s priority, which was to achieve savings and other improvements through agreement with Local 264,” said FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello. “This agreement, combined with significant cost savings the T has already achieved through internal management changes, means the Board does not need to further consider contracting out current bus maintenance operations at this time.”

The T will continue to invest cost savings in system improvements that will directly benefit riders.

Among other provisions, the agreement calls for work rule changes, including adoption of an overtime trigger that means Local 264 members will be able to collect overtime pay only after 40 hours of regular weekly work. The agreement also aligns the average annual rate of wage growth for Local 264 members with the overall rate of MBTA revenue growth. It also calls for modified wages for new bus machinists and fuelers.

“The overriding goal in everything we do is to provide our customers with safe, reliable, and cost-efficient service,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “I am pleased that we have been able to work with our employees and their unions toward this shared goal.”

The agreement creates greater workplace flexibility for Local 264 members, including the possibility to schedule four-day work weeks (10 hours per day). Such scheduling will improve employees’ quality of life while enabling management to cover shifts with less overtime.

The T is also setting and enforcing standard repair times for all measurable maintenance tasks. Machinists will be required to obtain Transit Bus Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications in order to receive promotions and salary increases.

The agreement with Local 264, which represents about six percent of all T employees, revises and extends the current contract through June 30, 2021.

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