SF TWU 250A Muni union members vote to approve new contract with 6 percent raise

SF TWU 250A Muni union members vote to approve new contract with 6 percent raise
Muni riders wait for a train at Van Ness Station in San Francisco. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on February 23, 2017 3:05 pm

Looks like there’ll be no “sick out” for Muni operators this year.

Three years after stalled contract negotiations allegedly prompted hundreds of Muni operators to call in sick to work, bringing Muni service to a standstill, the next round of contract negotiations were quietly approved without a hitch this week.

Muni operators voted through their union to accept and approve their contracts with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Tuesday night, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

“They passed it, membership ratified it,” confirmed Eric Williams, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, the union of Muni operators.

That approval maintained the current contract nearly verbatim for the next two years, plus a 6 percent wage increase over those next two years, pending budget shortfalls.

Members turned in paper ballots by hand at Muni bus yards across The City. Of the 1,352 operators who voted, 1,031 voted to approve the contract. Operators also voted to reject a more technical decision that may impact bus and light rail service.

Operators were asked to vote on extending a sign-up period to assign operators to new bus yards –– called the general sign ups –– to every three years instead of every two, which Williams said the SFMTA wanted to help ease their training burden.

The sign-ups let operators change what lines they drive. During the last general sign-up, the F-Market & Wharves streetcar line saw enough drivers change assignments that SFMTA had to, for a time, run buses to replace the streetcar line while they trained bus drivers to become streetcar operators.

“Their training department cannot deliver,” Williams said, but, “our members are saying ‘no.’”

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the SFMTA, said the sign-ups “can result in additional training if operators choose to switch modes, but when the time comes, we will work to minimize any impact to service by calling in off-duty operators to fill shifts.”

Operators also overwhelmingly rejected a provision to give newer operators a quicker raise, which would have eventually capped their overall salary for a longer period.