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MBTA Aims to Boost Machinists Union Lodge 264 Retention with New Contract

Posted on December 13, 2023

This four-year collective bargaining agreement between the MBTA and Machinists Union Lodge 264 seeks to retain talent and bolster workforce numbers.

The MBTA Board of Directors today approved a new four-year contract between the MBTA and the Machinists Union Lodge 264, which aims to improve retention and support MBTA machinists through expanded benefits and increased wages. 

The contract is part of increased efforts by the Healey-Driscoll Administration to ensure the Authority retains experienced and trained staff with the larger goal of shoring up MBTA workforce numbers and ensuring the availability of quality service for all riders.

“A new four-year contract with our valued members of Lodge 264 will help give the MBTA stability with its operations,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “I’d like to thank the membership for supporting this agreement and for their dedication in helping us to run safe and reliable service.”

“I thank Governor Healey and her administration for their leadership regarding rebuilding our workforce and together we are doing just that here at the MBTA. This agreement with Lodge 264 continues to demonstrate how important our workers are to us,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “This contract further accelerates our recruitment efforts, empowering us to attract new talent with competitive compensation and incentives. We thank the Machinists Union Lodge 264 for their collaboration and to all Authority workers for their unwavering dedication and service to the riding public.” 

The four-year contract, beginning July 1, 2023, and lasting through June 30, 2027, includes: 

  • Substantial Wage Increases: Employees will receive an overall wage adjustment of approximately 18% over four years, averaging approximately 4.5% per year. This significant increase will ensure that MBTA employees are compensated fairly for their hard work and dedication.
  • Retirement Eligible Retention Bonuses: To address current staffing shortages and retain frontline employees, the MBTA will provide a bonus to retirement-eligible employees to remain with the Authority for at least another year.
  • Longevity Compensation Program: To recognize the valuable contributions of the MBTA’s experienced mechanics and machinists and encourage them to remain with the Authority, the MBTA will provide enhanced compensation to eligible employees upon reaching 10, 15, 20, and 25 years of service.
  • Expanded Bereavement Leave: The loss of a loved one is difficult. The MBTA will expand the definition of bereavement leave to include domestic partners, which will allow employees to take the time they need to grieve without worrying about job security.
  • Increased Tool and Meal Allowances: The MBTA will increase tool and meal allowances to help offset the costs associated with these expenses.
  • State Vehicle Inspection Licensing Differential: Additional skills and training are required for employees to become licensed to perform state vehicle inspections, which are necessary to keep the MBTA’s buses on the road. To compensate for this additional responsibility, the MBTA will add a $2/hour differential for eligible employees.
  • Enhanced Holiday Pay: Employees at times work during the holidays to ensure services are uninterrupted for riders during this season. As a token of gratitude, the MBTA will increase Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday pay for all eligible employees.
  • Apprenticeship Program for Machinists: The MBTA is committed to investing in the future workforce. As part of this commitment, the MBTA plans to establish an apprenticeship program for Machinists, which will provide aspiring machinists with the training and experience they need to succeed in this field.

“This new contract agreement is an incredible step toward helping the MBTA in its efforts to improve the system by both strengthening efforts to hire more workers and supporting the current hardworking MBTA machinists and mechanics that help power the T,” said Machinists Union Lodge 264 member Mike Vartabedian. “On behalf of Machinists Lodge 264, I want to offer my thanks to Governor Healey, Secretary Tibbits-Nutt, and General Manager Eng for investing in the dedicated transportation workforce and the shared goal of providing safe, reliable transit service that best meets the needs of the riding public.”

Lodge 264 represents about 6% of all affiliated MBTA employees. This latest agreement builds upon other recent collective bargaining agreements reached between the MBTA and its workforce, including an agreement with the Boston Carmen’s ATU Local 589 in August 2023, which represents over 3,000 MBTA transit professionals, and the Transit Police Association in November 2023, which represents frontline patrol officers. The MBTA was able to quickly negotiate this agreement, further solidifying its dedication to its workforce. In contrast to past contract negotiations that took years to finalize, these agreements were secured in months, demonstrating the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s and MBTA leadership’s renewed ability to expedite contractual negotiations and achieve significant milestones in a fraction of the time.

The MBTA’s overall efforts to continue to rebuild its workforce are focused on recruitment, retention, skills training, and leadership development to cultivate the workforce needed to operate and maintain a modern transportation system. The MBTA has invested in restructuring the senior leadership team; improving frontline teams, safety protocols, engineering, and planning; and workforce development and training to ensure employees can effectively fulfill their responsibilities. The MBTA has exceeded hiring over 1,400 employees in 2023, exceeding a goal set by the Healey-Driscoll Administration, whose investment of $20 million in the supplemental budget also supported the Local 589 Agreement critical to the MBTA hiring efforts.

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