The Carmen's Union says it's not against safety, but that arbitrarily banning mere possession of a phone by T drivers is both a workplace change that requires negotiation and potentially a safety problem on its own.
In a statement, the union says it could go to court to try to block enforcement of the rule without bargaining.
Our Union is deeply disturbed by MBTA management’s decision to turn bargained policy on its head, determining that all bus and transportation workers are guilty until proven innocent and declaring management judge, jury and executioner without due process.
There are times when alternative communications, like cellphones, are actually needed on the bus - on an urgent basis for everyone’s protection. To the extent that the MBTA proposes to ban them all together, this policy offers no solution to safety emergencies. ...
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.
On Monday, the T announced a complete ban on phone possession by drivers in response to last month's crash of a bus in Newton Corner, which the T says was linked to the driver being on the phone at the time.
Previously, only workers found on the phone could be summarily fired.