Boston, MA—With a scolding review of health and safety conditions at the T, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Health and Safety(MassCosh) is urging the MBTA to reassess the pending janitorial staffing cuts that could reduce the janitorial workforce at T stations by 30%.
“We are greatly concerned about the increased health and safety risk to the general public, a memo authored by Tolle Graham Labor Environment Coordination at MassCosh states.
MassCosh’s review raises concerns about workers cleaning body fluids, including blood, feces and vomit without the proper equipment and training necessary for protection from infectious disease.
The memo documents instances of workers without enough supplies to clean. A problem that is concerning to MassCosh “because cleaning bathrooms without the proper cleaning fluids or enough supplies can result in ineffective disinfection of surfaces.”
According to the memo, workers are already experiencing speedup and increased workload at stations that experienced a nearly 9% cut in staff levels in the past five years. Workers state that they will not be able to keep up with the necessary cleaning after even more cuts. This presents safety and health concerns because, in their view, when workers rush to finish tasks, it can increase stress and the potential for work‐related injuries.
“This review should make the MBTA think twice before going ahead with such drastic cuts to the cleaning workforce of T,” said Roxana Rivera Director of 32BJ SEIU District 615. “We are open to continue a dialogue with the MBTA to find cost-saving alternatives that don’t put the workers and the public at risk.”
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including 18,000 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, SEIU 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.