Metro

Worker for privatized T ‘money room’ says union members harassed him

An employee of the company that took over the MBTA’s cash-counting department last week from union workers says T employees harassed him Wednesday by taking photographs as he picked up a money vault in a rental truck, according to a police report.

The MBTA said it disciplined at least one employee for posting the photographs on social media.

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A supervisor at the contract company, Brink’s, said the incident “raised safety concerns” for all his employees. He said he believes the MBTA employees’ actions “were related to the recent privatization of the Revenue Operations.”

On Wednesday, several photos of the Brink’s employee collecting the money vault in a Penske rental truck were posted on Twitter, along with comments suggesting the vault belonged to the MBTA and its cash-counting operation, often referred to as “the money room.”

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At least one user who tweeted the photographs also posted comments that seemed to suggest Brink’s was providing lax security and could be in danger of being robbed. The MBTA has disputed those claims.

The Twitter user, who identified himself as Charlie Kingman on his profile, posted three photos of the rental truck and wrote: “This is what happens when you privatize the Money room ... Easily can be robbed.”

Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said at least one employee — and possibly more — is being disciplined for posting the photos, a violation of the MBTA’s social media policy. He did not identify any employees who were involved.

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The episode follows a prolonged fight over privatizing the money room, a department that counts cash from fares paid to the MBTA. It had long been run by union employees, but the MBTA recently signed a five-year, $18.7 million contract with Brink’s to take over the operation.

The president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, which opposed the privatization, declined through a spokesman to comment on the incident.

MBTA Transit Police did not return requests for comment.

In a report Wednesday, police said a Brink’s employee called them to a Boston Green Line stop to report that several MBTA workers had taken his picture at stops in Newton and Boston as he picked up money vaults. This was the first week that Brink’s collected vaults at those locations, according to the report.

The Brink’s employee said “he feared for his safety,” police wrote.

The Brink’s employee also took photographs of the MBTA workers.

One of the T workers later raised security concerns about collecting the money in a box truck, telling police he was “used to seeing an armored vehicle arrive to make the vault pick up and decided to take pictures of the truck in case a criminal act was occurring,” according to the police report.

Pesaturo disputed the assertion that armored vehicles were always used for that task, saying that T union workers had used box trucks for decades.

He said he would not publicly discuss any extra security measures that may have been taken, and added that no other incidents were reported.

“Employees should not post comments on social media sites about MBTA business outside the MBTA’s social media sites or identities,” according to a copy of the policy provided by Pesaturo.

It says employees can’t publish content on “MBTA business-related matters, such as personal employee information, safety plans and security procedures, internal investigations or other confidential information.”

Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.
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