MBTA operators union will fight stricter cellphone policies - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

MBTA operators union will fight stricter cellphone policies

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BOSTON (WHDH) - A spokesperson from the union representing MBTA operators said it will fight the agency's stricter policy regarding cellphones.

The MBTA now says that any operator found with a phone behind the wheel will be suspended for 30 days and recommended for firing. The union statement, in response, said that this presumes workers are "guilty until proven innocent."

The Boston Carmen's Union ATU Local 589 said in a statement that it is "deeply disturbed" by the policy and that sometimes alternative communications are necessary on buses.

"To the extent that the MBTA proposes to ban them all together, this policy offers no solution to safety emergencies," the statement said.

The union president had met with the MBTA General Manager to discuss postponing the new policies.

"The rights of MBTA workers should not and will not be pushed aside in a rush to address an isolated situation. Safety and the legal process should both be respected in this case," the statement said.

The MBTA's new policies come after a bus crash in Newton that sent the vehicle through a guardrail over the Massachusetts Turnpike. Authorities claim the driver was holding a cellphone at the time.
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