CAMBRIDGE, MA – Cambridge City Council took a responsible step toward protecting the safety of T riders and the economic stability of the Cambridge community with a resolution in support of contracted MBTA cleaners, union officials said today.
“We congratulate Cambridge City Council for standing up for workers’ right to be treated with dignity and respect, and for encouraging the MBTA to maintain high standards,” said Roxanna Rivera, director of 32BJ SEIU’s New England District.
The MBTA has approved a plan to eliminate 90 contracted janitors, resulting in hours cuts of up to 79% during peak travel times at some stations.
“We’ve been working to keep stations clean for many years, and with cuts, our work will get even harder,” said Ruben Moran, a contracted cleaner who testified at the city council meeting. “With the added workload, some cleaners could be doing as much as twice the work they have now.”
According to the resolution, “the elimination of these jobs will cause tremendous hardship for these workers and their families and send shockwaves through the largely low-income, minority communities in Boston and Greater Boston where they reside.”
The proposed cuts not only will affect the cleanliness of transit stations, but the increased workload will put an undue burden on the already-overworked cleaners, Rivera said.
“There’s simply no way the MBTA can deliver on its obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment for riders and employees if these cuts go forward,” she said.
The resolution confirmed Cambridge City Council’s recognition of MBTA cleaners “as an integral part of our public transportation system,” and calls on the MBTA and calling on the MBTA “to take all necessary steps to prevent these cuts and ensure a high standard of cleanliness at all MBTA stations.”
A similar resolution also passed in the city of Revere, demonstrating the widespread concern about the devastating effects of MBTA’s proposed cuts.
With 145,000 members in 11 states and the District of Columbia, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers’ union in the country.