SF Gray Panthers support MUNI drivers voting for no concessions

SF Gray Panthers support MUNI drivers voting for no concessions

On Friday, June 11, San Francisco MUNI drivers rejected the City’s demands for concessions for the second time. (See below.)  SF Gray Panthers made the following statement of support:

The SF Gray Panthers salutes the MUNI drivers who resisted the pressures of downtown business, the Mayor’s office, the Chronicle and Examiner, and some Supervisors, in rejecting the concessions the City is trying to force down their throats. MUNI’s service cuts, fare increases, and financial problems are not caused by drivers’ greed or the riders’ fare evasion; they are caused by downtown business refusing to pay for the service MUNI provides in bringing them their customers and workers.

We recognize that the same forces that attack MUNI drivers and riders are also attacking the City services we need to survive; health, human services, housing, and nutrition. Thoughtful City workers in other unions should support the drivers, because the drivers’ refusal to make concessions and their crucial position in the City’s economy could make the City think twice demanding even more concessions from other unions. This could save both jobs and services.

We demand: No service cuts or fare increases for SF’s poor, seniors, minorities, and immigrants. Make downtown business pay for the services they receive. Drivers and riders should unite to demand more public transit, not less.

(See this letter in June 15 SF Chronicle.)

###

San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2010

S.F. Muni operators reject proposed givebacks

(06-11) 21:02 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Muni operators rejected a proposed package of labor concessions Friday that city officials said was needed to help San Francisco’s financially pinched transit agency partially roll back the deep service cuts imposed last month.

Members of Transport Workers Local 250-A, which represents about 2,000 Muni operators, voted 747 against and 538 in favor of the proposed pact, according to union official Walter Scott.

The reductions, which went into effect five weeks ago, amounted to 300,000 service hours a year, or about 10 percent. They have led to more crowded buses and streetcars, fewer transit options late at night and longer waits between runs.

Mayor Gavin Newsom called the rejection “a slap in the face to everyone who rides Muni and to every other public employee union member,” who already agreed to givebacks. “Once again, I call upon the membership of the TWU to reconsider and revote.”

The leadership of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A forged a tentative agreement with Muni management two weeks ago that city officials say would cut costs by about $19 million over two years.

Union membership has been split bitterly over the proposal.

Bucking union officials, the rank and file resoundingly rejected a different set of proposed givebacks in February.

The new proposal called for lifting the de facto prohibition on the use of part-time operators, tightening overtime rules and changing dependent health care coverage.

It also would have extended the operators’ contract for another year, through June 30, 2012. That would have given operators an extra year to benefit from a guarantee enshrined in the city charter that they are paid at least the second-highest wage among U.S. transit operators.

That operator-friendly provision could be in jeopardy. Two separate charter amendments proposed for the November election seek to undo the automatic pay guarantee, though neither has qualified for the ballot.

The proposed ballot measures seek to set operator salaries through collective bargaining with the aim of giving management more flexibility in getting rid of inefficient work rules.

Municipal Transportation Agency chief Nathaniel Ford said that a favorable ratification vote would have benefited riders by restoring half the service cuts by early September.

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