SFMTA Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement with Muni Operators Union

Flickr photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/27696367/sizes/m/in/photostream/##Thomas Hawk##

The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) says it will save at least $21.3 million in labor costs over three years after reaching a tentative contract agreement with the union representing Muni operators, SFMTA spokesperson Charles Goodyear announced today.

The new tentative agreement includes terms that would freeze Muni operator pay, allow the SFMTA to hire part-time Muni operators, redefine “overtime” work, schedule Muni service more flexibly, alter disciplinary procedures, review Muni crashes more cost-efficiently, and take non-licensed operators off the payroll.

“We are very pleased that these bargaining sessions over the past three months have yielded a positive result for our customers, our employees and the Agency,” Debra Johnson, director of Administration, Taxis and Accessible Services for the SFMTA, said in a statement.

The agreement comes after months of contract negotiations between SFMTA management and Local Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 250-A, which represents 2,200 drivers, as mandated by Proposition G, which was approved by voters last November.

“These contract talks were intense but both sides acted professionally. Ultimately, we arrived at a contract compromise that will produce significant cost savings and will change how Muni is managed over the long term,” said Johnson.

TWU officials are trying to overturn Prop G and block federal funding grants for Muni projects on the grounds that Prop G is illegally unfair to labor. TWU Acting President Rafael Cabrera did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Savings in labor costs and new work rules could potentially allow the SFMTA to improve Muni service for riders by freeing up needed funds for costs like vehicle maintenance, more effectively deterring driver absenteeism, and allowing part-time drivers to supplement peak-hour service.

Here are the details of the terms released by the SFMTA today:

  • The hiring of part-time operators at a rate equal to 15 percent of the total budgeted operator positions at the Agency.
  • Redefinition of overtime as work performed in excess of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.
  • Clear contract language that states management’s right to schedule Muni service “consistent with the transit needs of the City and County of San Francisco.”
  • Extending the amount of time the Agency may take to conduct an investigation relating to discipline and grievance procedures from 14 calendar days to 42 business days.
  • Eliminating the costly joint management-union Accident Review Board and allowing the Agency’s Chief Safety Officer to appoint a transit safety investigator to determine whether specific Muni accidents were preventable.
  • Eliminating the current contract provision that allows non-licensed Muni operators to remain on the payroll.

SFMTA management is “continuing to calculate the final estimated cost savings that will result from this new agreement,” said Goodyear. The agreement still needs to be approved by TWU members as well as the SFMTA Board of Directors. If the TWU ratifies the agreement, Goodyear said the terms will be available for public review for 14 days.


Tentative Labor Agreement May Reverse Muni Service Cuts

Photo: Michael Rhodes The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has reached a tentative agreement with six of its employee unions, including the Muni operators union, that would save the agency $18.7 million over two years and allow it, by September 4, to restore over half the service it cut earlier this month. The agreement, which […]

Muni Operators Reject Concessions Proposal

Muni drivers rejected a concessions proposal today that would have saved the SFMTA $18.7 million over the next two years and allowed the agency to fully restore service by next July. Echoing a vote earlier this year, members of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A voted down the proposal negotiated between TWU leadership, San Francisco […]

Commentary: Proposition G and the Vision of the City

Editor’s note: Jason Henderson, a geography professor at San Francisco State University who writes about the politics of mobility, explains why he’s voting against Proposition G on November 2. We’ve invited the Yes on G side to write an op-ed and hope to publish it soon. A lot of well-meaning people are leaning towards voting […]

Muni Operator Wage Measure Now Official

A ballot measure that would change the way Muni operator wages and benefits are set now has an official name and summary from the City Attorney’s Office. The measure [PDF], titled "Setting Transit Operator Wages Through Collective Bargaining," would do just that: instead of the current City Charter provision requiring the MTA to set operator […]

Common Ground and Key Differences in Two Muni Operator Pay Measures

SPUR Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf gathers signatures for Supervisor Sean Elsbernd’s ballot measure. Photo: Michael Rhodes Depending on how you count it, the sweeping Muni ballot measure that four members of the Board of Supervisors introduced earlier this week has at least six major components, ranging from the governance of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation […]