Elsbernd: Muni Operator Salary Ballot Measure is Back On

ShowImage.jpgSupervisor Sean Elsbernd. Photo courtesy the City of San Francisco.

With the Muni operators union rejecting a concessions proposal last night that would have helped the MTA balance its budget deficit, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said he now plans to bring back a ballot measure that would end the practice of setting Muni operator wages at the average of the two highest-paying transit agencies in the country.

Elsbernd originally introduced the ballot measure late last year, with hopes of bringing the proposal through the Rules Committee and Board of Supervisors. That plan was scuttled two weeks ago when the Mayor, deep in negotiations over a concessions plan with the operators union, asked Elsbernd to back off.

Asked whether the operators union vote to reject the concessions meant he’d bring the ballot measure back, Elsbernd eagerly affirmed. "The answer is an emphatic ‘yes,’" Elsbernd wrote in an email to Streetsblog. "June is not possible, but I will certainly make every effort to get the proposal on the November ballot."

Elsbernd said he now plans to collect signatures for a petition campaign to get the measure on the November ballot. The plan received a cool response from union officials and fellow supervisors when Elsbernd introduced it on the Rules Committee last month. It was roundly opposed at the hearings by the Transport Workers Union, which represents Muni operators, as well as by representatives of the firefighters and hotel workers unions.

If the measure were to pass, it would amend the City Charter so that operator salary and benefit negotiations would occur entirely through the collective bargaining process. Since 1967, Muni operators have generally had their salaries set at the average of the two highest-paying transit agencies nationally, a practice that was formally enshrined in the City Charter with Proposition A in 2007.

  • Wow. The TWU just loaded the gun and put it into the hands of the union busters. Good job guys!

  • Let the games begin!

  • christina quiroz

    When and where do I sign?

  • Marty

    MUNI has been abusing the riders for decades. Now it’s time for some payback.

  • Rona

    Wow, how hateful these comments are. Most drivers are good and helpful,there are bad apples in every line of business. Don’t be so biased, I have seen riders abuse drivers more often than I have witnessed drivers abusing riders. MUNI must provide more support to Operators and Passengers. Realistic schedules are a must. A MUNI Operators receives no customer service training which make no sense what so ever. Where is MTA spending the money? Not on the Operator. Operators don’t even have adequate restroom facilities. Please get you facts straight!

    This whole media negotiation of the contract is FOUL!

  • Gabriela


    Since you think that operators are no good, we will see how far you will get with that statement… Muni started passing out pink slips, so complaining about delays, no bus showing up etc will get you nowhere. Muni already doesn’t have enough drivers to cover all the runs in the city, and they will lay off about 200 drivers? Be ready to wait at the bus stop for much longer now.

    Most people keep talking garbage about drivers but don’t realize they put up with so much bull…. They deserve every penny. Abusive riders think their shit doesn’t stink,we will see about that. Start driving your car since muni operators are so bad!

    How dare anyone thinks that it’s ok to post operators earnings! Try to be in their position, would you like to have your salary smashed in newspaper? Didn’t think so. As much as public has a right to have their opinion, their is a limit. Where is the protection of drivers? People will be really mad when muni charter will be changed and drivers will strike, it will surely messed up the whole city. You want changes? Start with the management because one must wonder where is all the money going but surely not in operators pockets.

  • David

    The fact is that ALL Muni employees are grossly overpaid by fact of their labor union agreement. And they know and admit it. The union is destroying the service by demanding pay scales beyond what anyone in the private sector is getting. And their attitude is ‘screw the taxpayer’, at least I got mine.

    We can get three drivers for the price that we are paying for one right now. With this economy, there are people standing in line for food, let alone jobs.

    Stop the abuse. Privatize the bus service and watch it improve. Wake up people! The unions and pensioners are crushing the working people that they claim to serve.

  • David

    FYI…someone just set fire to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd parents home in SF.

    Hmm…who could be responsible for this….Union thugs?!

  • nafiss

    This is a subterfuge to distract people from the reality of our beleaguered Mass Transit in America. All the pie goes to cars and highways. Mass Transit gets a ridiculously small part of the pie. Just the latest one: Cash For Clunkers!!! 4 billion dollars went down the drain. I challenge Mr. Sean Elsbernd to Travel to Tolkyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Helsinki, etc. to see the beauty of a WELL FUNDED mass transit. I want Mr. Elsbernd to bring with him from those countries the budget list of how each city spend on its mass transit and compare with San Francisco. It is easy to attack the courageous drivers, but it is momentous to stand to Congress to ask for funds.
    Nafiss Griffis

  • Gary Brownen

    Were can I sign the muni pay initiative?

  • Ek

    Where do I sign? If this doesnt get on the ballot, then i’m applying for a job with Muni! Cha-Ching!

  • sl

    sf is a major city and public transit is a must…what other major city has a transit system that run so many different buses 24hrs a day??? if all of you guys go to the eastbay you have to wait 30-45min for 1bus and then make it home by 7pm because they dont run that late…appreciate your transit system…and what is “overpaid” they drive some of the worst lines through rough areas and deal with fights on their buses drivers being assaulted and trying to get the arrogant people to their jobs on time….sometimes they dont even get bathroom breaks at the end of their line because they have to keep up with the time schedule because you people complain about it being late…so you idiots vote against your number 1 major tranportation agency in your own city…so remember next time you are running for your bus and the driver doesnt stop…thats what you voted for…now that opened up room for drivers to strike….how smart are you san francicans…


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