As the MBTA board and managers explore ways to privatize parts of the transit agency, union workers are telling them that outsourcing jobs isn't the way to revitalize the T.

Gov. Charlie Baker's hand-picked MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board is focused on cutting costs for the indebted transit agency and is considering plans to privatize warehouse logistics, cash counting and other functions.

Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve told reporters before Monday's board meeting that he wants T employees to just focus on making the trains run on time.

"What this is about is fixing the T and making it work better," Shortsleeve said. "Warehouse-inventory logistics are not a core function of the MBTA. Neither are cash-management operations—these are things the private sector does very well."

But labor advocates and employees of the T's warehouses say that shouldn't mean eliminating whole departments and the union jobs that go with it.

"To think that a private company could come in tomorrow, fill in the gaps, turn a profit and save the public money is nonsense," said James O'Brien, the head of the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589 union, which represents the warehouse employees.

MBTA managers are trying to cut costs wherever they can to fix a huge gap in the T's budget, and say any money saved in daily operations will go towards rebuilding reliability.

The T's managers and consultants mentioned over and over that the plan to privatize the warehouse system is not a criticism of the warehouse staff. The board will decide on pursuing privatization later this summer.

Board member Brian Lang requested that the T's consultants analyze how much it would cost over time for the current operation to get up to speed while retaining in-house warehousing system.

The choice before the Fiscal and Management Control Board is about whether to eliminate the whole warehouse department by hiring an outside company to run it, or to pursue in-house solutions by expanding the current union staff.

"Our inability to get parts to bus garages and other maintenance facilities over time has been a great frustration for our maintenance workforce and our machinists," Shortsleeve said of the warehouse system, which he said has been mismanaged for decades.

"It’s wrong for management to target the jobs of dedicated men and women who have worked for years to serve riders as a solution for their decades of neglect," Carmen's president James O'Brien said in a statement before the meeting. "We have already seen how privatization of transportation does not deliver improved service for riders, and management has yet to explain how more outsourcing will lead to better service."

Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman spoke in opposition to the privatization plan, along with other labor leaders and dozens of union and other workers who packed the room.

According to the Carmen's union, the 15 stockroom locations employ 32 workers and handle over 35,000 parts for the aging transit system. The union said in a statement that management refuses to add the staff needed to keep the central Everett warehouse open more than 40 hours a week, even though repair shops work around the clock.

“But management has refused to make the investments necessary so that the stockroom operation fulfills the needs of a 21st Century transit system," O'Brien is credited with saying in the statement. "It is impossible to believe that a profit-driven private company without the necessary knowledge and expertise can step in tomorrow and meet the needs of the MBTA’s diverse fleet of vehicles, hundreds of miles of tracks, and vast collection of buildings."