Electricians, MBTA Agree on Pact

Construction Work Will Continue

Members of the electricians' union whose work is vital to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) red line extension project, voted Saturday to avert a strike, settling with the National Electrical Contractor's Association (NECA).

Meanwhile, the Plumbers' Local 12 remains on strike and MBTA construction crews continue to work around plumbing sites.

The new three-year agreement provides for a total 11-per-cent wage increase over the next three years, Richard Monahan, business manager for the electricians Local 103, said yesterday, adding that the settlement was "very reasonable."


The contract capped three months of smooth negotiations and an NECA spokesman yesterday echoed the union's satisfaction with the settlement. "It's a very acceptable and reasonable settlement," Glenn W. Kingsbery, assistant manager for NECA said.


The agreement outlines four hourly rate increases over the next three years. The first $1.50 increase is retroactive to September 1, 1980, Kingsberry said, adding that the electricians were previously receiving $12.60 an hour under the provisions of their 1978 contract.

The electricians and the NECA are not the only ones pleased with the agreement. "We are very, very happy," George Holland of the MBTA said, adding, "A strike would have slowed us down for weeks."

The Perini Corporation, which is handling the construction of the Harvard Square project, was also enthusiastic. "It's a great relief," Lewis Ross, office manger for the Harvard Square construction for Perini, said yesterday.

The electricians' swift settlement is in marked contrast to the bitter and ineffective negotiations characterizing the one-week old plumbers strike.

The plumbers, whose work is also necessary to the MBTA construction, have been on strike since their contract expired August 31.

Points of Contention

Local 12 and the Master Plumber Association of Greater Boston are engaged in round-the-clock negotiations. Sticking points range from the size of the possible wage increase to the right of the unions to appoint stewards to be on the job.

Neither side expressed optimism on a swift settlement. The strike until now has not greatly affected construction because crews have built around plumbing jobs, Holland said.

However, the construction crews can only avoid plumbing installations for a few weeks, he said, adding, "We're going to need them pretty soon."