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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

6/20/2014



Rail News: Passenger Rail

MBTA, state launch workforce initiative; union objects to MBTA cellphone policy


Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) launched the Massachusetts Workforce Initiative Now (MassWIN) Green Line Extension (GLX) Workforce Development program to recruit, train and place community members in transportation-related careers.

The MassWIN GLX Workforce Development Program is a pilot project with the mission of building a sustainable workforce from local residents, organizations and institutions in the communities most impacted by the GLX project. The program is modeled after Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) Workforce Initiative Now, and will focus on workforce development and job creation in the communities along the GLX route, MBTA officials said in a press release.

"The transportation industry provides a multitude of career paths, and by launching the MassWIN GLX Program, we are helping to promote growth in this industry and in our own backyard," said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

The program will help make it easier for local residents to get jobs created as the Green Line expansion advances, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Boston Carmen's Union ATU Local 589, which represents MBTA train and bus operators, has objected to a new policy that says operators can be fired for possessing a cellphone on the job. Operators have been barred from possessing cellphones for the past several years, but violators faced a suspension and recommendation for firing after two violations. Now, the punishment for possessing a cellphone is as tough as an operator using a cellphone while on the job, according to a report in the Boston Globe that was posted on the union's website.

The MBTA announced the policy change a month after a crash involving an MBTA bus in which the bus ended up dangling over the Massachusetts Turnpike. The bus operator in that case is accused of having a cellphone in her hand before the accident, according to the Globe article.

In a statement posted on its website, the union said there are times when "alternative communications" are necessary on a bus for "everyone's protection."



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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