Two workers for a contractor to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority were arrested Friday and accused of stealing parts from a warehouse in Medford.
The workers, who allegedly sought to steal copper wire and cables, are subcontractors to Mancon Inc., a private company the T hired earlier this year to manage its warehouse operations. They were identified as George Halley, 32, of Somerville and Michael Frisoli, 31, of Cambridge.
Mancon said in a statement that it will fire the workers “if the accusations are substantiated.”
The amount and worth of taken material is under investigation, but the T said Mancon will repay any losses. MBTA general manager Luis Ramirez said the agency has “notified the contractor that this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The warehouse contract with Mancon was part of an outsourcing campaign by the T to cut costs. The company received a five-year contract in January to manage warehouses and parts delivery that the agency said would result in a more efficient operation and $5 million in annual savings.
The warehouse work has traditionally been done by public-sector union workers from the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. In 2015, the MBTA was given the power to more easily outsource agency work, stoking conflict between the Baker administration and public-sector unions.
In 2016 the T and the Carmen reached an agreement to delay raises in exchange for protecting most of the union’s jobs, especially those that are focused on driving trains and buses. But the Carmen agreed to let the private sector handle peripheral work, such as warehouse operations, opening the door for the T to issue the contract to Mancon.
On Friday, a coalition of MBTA labor unions who have protested the outsourcing efforts said the arrests show that privatization is “misguided and misinformed.”Adam Vaccaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.