Skip to main content

MBTA Achieves Historic Labor Agreements with Entire Workforce

Posted on July 3, 2024

Healey-Driscoll Administration and MBTA General Manager Eng secure contracts with all 28 unions in record time.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has reached a landmark achievement by successfully negotiating agreements with all 28 of its affiliated labor unions, representing 16 collective bargaining agreements. This accomplishment, the first of its kind since 2009, was realized within 18 months of the Healey-Driscoll Administration taking office and under the leadership of MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng.  
“The success of the MBTA depends on a well-trained, motivated and empowered workforce. That's why, from day one, our administration has been committed to partnering with labor to efficiently secure agreements that ensure workers receive competitive wages and benefits and strengthen our efforts to recruit and retain the best talent. I'm grateful to General Manager Eng and his team for their leadership, to our labor unions for their partnership, and to the men and women who keep the T moving forward for their hard work,” said Governor Maura Healey.  
Key Highlights:  

  • All agreements finalized within one year of negotiations, a significant improvement from previous multi-year processes. 
  • Four-year terms for all 16 contracts, ensuring the longest period of labor stability since the 1980s.  
  • Enhanced wages and incentives to boost recruitment and retention efforts.  
  • Built upon the historic pension agreement with the Carmen's Union (March 2023) and similar agreement with the Transit Police Association (Fall 2023).  
  • The final agreement, ratified with the MBTA Plumbers in June 2024, completes a series of contracts modeled after the August 2023 agreement with the Boston Carmen's Union, ATU Local 589.  

These agreements address long-standing labor concerns and aim to stabilize and expand the MBTA workforce.  
“This is a significant step forward in creating the infrastructure and support that is needed for our workforce to implement the current and future work of the MBTA. I am deeply grateful to everyone who worked to make this a reality and to ensure that our frontline workers have everything they need to provide quality services to residents and travelers,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt
“The Healey-Driscoll Administration understood from the beginning that rebuilding our workforce was paramount to restoring the reliability of safe public transit. I’m thankful for the efforts across our organization that negotiated and settled these contracts with our labor partners in record time. These contracts provide a level of stability we haven’t seen in decades,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “Union workers and the new hires we’re eager to bring on are on the frontline of providing reliable safe service for many communities. I’m so proud to stand side by side with the MBTA workforce.”   
“It’s awesome to hear that all the Union contracts at the MBTA are under agreement. It is a historical accomplishment and emphasizes how progress can be made when labor and management work together. We are very thankful for the Governor and her team,” said MBTA Board Director Robert Butler. Butler is also the President of the Northeast Regional Council of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). He has served over 20 years as a Journeyman in Local 17, giving him a strong understanding of the needs of trade employees that he uses to advocate for worker’s rights.   
Workforce Development Initiatives:  

  • Over 1,900 new hires since the beginning of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, including more than 1,600 in 2023 alone.
  • $20 million investment from a supplemental budget to support hiring efforts and the Local 589 Agreement.
  • Comprehensive approach focusing on recruitment, retention, skills training, and leadership development.
  • Restructuring of senior leadership and improvement of frontline teams, safety protocols, engineering, and planning.

“Making these frontline MBTA jobs competitive like was done in the recent Local 589 contract and others that followed is important not just because many of these jobs can provide a pathway to the middle class, but because the system absolutely needs to attract and retain experienced frontline workers in order to improve. We give the administration and the General Manager credit for engaging with the frontline workforce through collective bargaining in a manner that is positive, productive, and respectful,” said Carmen’s Union Local 589 President Jim Evers

“Under the new General Manager and the Healey-Driscoll Administration, a lot of trust has been restored among the workforce and we absolutely give them credit for making essential investments in the frontline workforce through a professional and respectful collective bargaining approach,” said IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative and Chairperson of the MBTA Coalition of Unions Mike Vartabedian
“The Massachusetts AFL-CIO represents thousands of union members who work at the MBTA, as well as thousands of union members who rely on the MBTA to get to work. We appreciate that the Healey-Driscoll Administration understands the critical role that public transportation plays in the lives of working people, and how important it is to respect and listen to the hardworking union members who make our public transportation system run,” said MA AFL-CIO President Chrissy Lynch
These agreements and workforce initiatives mark a turning point for the MBTA, setting the stage for improved service reliability and system modernization. As the MBTA moves forward with a stabilized workforce, it is now better positioned than ever before to meet the evolving transportation needs of the Greater Boston area. 

More Information

Media Contact Information

For all queries and comments, please contact:

MBTA Press Office