MBTA under scrutiny for excessive wages

MBTA under scrutiny for excessive wages

The Bay State’s taxpayer-funded commuter rail service has recently made headlines for large raises, signing bonuses and other perks that its engineers and conductors have received.

According to a report compiled by Pioneer Institute, a conservative fiscal watchdog, the MBTA has excessive labor costs that outrank other state agencies.

The report called on Governor Patrick and fellow Democrats to keep MBTA and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail salaries and benefits in check before calling on tax payers to bail out the service.

Here are some highlights from the report:

• 13.7 % boost in salaries to commuter rail engineers and trainmen in the current contract (from 2009 to June)

• $1,000 lump-sum signing bonus to each engineer and conductor when the latest contract was ratified in 2011

• $100 monthly fee for full-scale family health insurance coverage

• MBTA pay disparity when compared to state workers — including T painters who earn an average annual salary of $79,279 vs. $46,742 for state painters and T customer service reps who top out at $61,110, while their counterparts for the state earn no more than $45,117 at the RMV.

T spokesman Joe Pesaturo defended T employee wages as “consistent with those of other major U.S. transit systems.”

For the original report by the Pioneer Institute, click here.

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