MBTA Janitors complained of a lack of supplies, hard overnight shifts and a loss of benefits since the MBTA switched to a cost-saving cleaning contract in September.

“We’re being threatened that if we don’t finish all the work that we have to do, we’ll lose our job. But the circumstances have changed in a way that we cannot complete the work," janitor Hector Flores, who cleans a number of stations, told the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board.

David Shea, the president of SJ Services, one of two major cleaning contractors the T works with, says the new system is efficient because it moved cleaning to overnight shifts. He also says his workers have all the supplies they need.

The MBTA's own evaluation since the contract change shows no decrease in station cleanliness. 

MBTA Board members are reviewing if the contract - which saves the T $16.6 million dollars - is getting the job done. They could vote to restore some of the funding, but that would hurt the T's bottom line.

“I think it’s reprehensible to drop someone’s hours below [what the law requires] to take away their health care," Board member Monica Tibbits-Nutt said. "I know that they aren’t our employees, they’re our contractors, but I just don’t think that’s a way to treat people.”

Before the panel was briefed on a review of the contract and situation, Shea told the T's Fiscal and Management Control Board that the new contract is more efficient and that his workers are delivering the needed cleaning at the right price.

The janitors warned back in August that decreased spending on cleaning contracts would result in layoffs and onerous work for the janitors left on the payrolls of the two companies the T pays to clean it's stations.

The cleaning companies, Services Inc. and ABM Industries, say the new streamlined contract is more efficient and cost-saving because it moves the majority of work to overnight shifts. 

The administration of Deval Patrick had been paying for more cleaners than the contract called for in order to avoid laying off workers. Annualized, that was $53.1 million.

The Baker administration, on the other hand, has been more focused on containing costs than retaining jobs. It is insisting on $36.5 million for the same work. The new, less-costly contract went into effect Sept. 1.