Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Muni Operators Just Don't Get It

So the Muni mess here in San Francisco just keeps on going.

Yesterday, it was announced that Board of Supervisors, including Supervisor Elsbernd, denied a petition by some transit activists to delay the proposed cuts to the Muni system. The petition was brought on the grounds that the MTA officials decided on the cuts with out going through the proper procedure. The Board of Supervisors reasoning was that the MTA had declared an emergency and that allows them to just chuck a, rather onerous, process.

So nice to see that the Supes want to see things done the right way each time. Apparently, all you need to do is cry emergency, even if it is a self-inflicted one, and you get to screw the citizens of San Francisco.

Good job guys. Way to keep the pressure on Muni management to make some changes.

As this is going on, Muni management is trying to negotiate a new contract with operators union. Now, I have grave doubts about Muni management's ability to negotiate anything in the City's favor. After all, they've been the one handling this for years and look where its gotten us.

The Muni operator unions, the Transport Workers Union, are refusing to budge on their contract demands. According to the Chronicle, they claim that they are being "scapegoated in the mass media for the financial mess." My response to them: don't worry, you're just the first up for this; the management is next and they know.

The Transport Workers Union seems to have a little problem with reality. They seem to see nothing wrong the fact that they want to protect contract guarrantees that allow:
  • 36 full time employees work only one run (not route, but a run through a route) per day.
  • Free gym memberships for the employees.
  • $2 per hour premiums for employees who are transferred from a shift or to a different division.
  • While at the same time giving employees a 50 cent per hour pay increase for remaining in a division for more than 5 years
  • 8 percent premiums for working after 6 p.m.
So, let's get this straight. Muni is supposed to be unable to transfer people to meet the systems needs without paying a tax in the form of higher wages. Also, after a certain amount of time working in the same division, without determining whether the operator is good at their job or not, they get a $.50/hr increase. This is kind of insane!

And perhaps my favorite part about the Muni-TWU negotiations: the TWU won't give a counter-offer to Muni. Why? First, the membership can't even get its act together to vote on what counter-offer to make. Second, the poor head of the TWU needed some time off because of stress. Where does Irwin Lum go to de-stress? Apparently Paris, France.

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