Muni’s operators union is once again suing to overturn a city law that changed its longstanding work rules and pay standards.
In November 2010, voters approved Proposition G, an initiative giving the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency more leverage to negotiate contracts with its 2,200 transit operators. As a result of the measure, an independent arbitration board imposed a new contract last June after the rank-and-file members of the union twice rejected proposed agreements.
Now, in a suit that lawyers for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A expect to file today in California Superior Court, the union will claim that the makeup of the arbitration board violated The City Charter.
Local 250-A, which represents the operators and is under new leadership, also will claim that the body failed to conduct proper evidentiary hearings. And the suit alleges that union members weren’t given proper notice of the hearing at which the contract was imposed.
The union hopes to vacate provisions of the new contract’s work rules.
“After we took office, it became apparent to union members and our lawyers that the SFMTA’s board didn’t follow rules established by Prop G,” said TWU president Eric Williams, who was elected in December. “The arbitrator and the agency violated The City Charter.”
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said agency officials believe the contract is valid and that negotiations were done in accordance with the law and voters’ intent.
“While it is unfortunate that the union has brought this issue to court, we are confident that the legal process will uphold the agreement,” he said. “Going forward, we remain committed to working cooperatively with the union and its membership to improve the delivery of transit service notwithstanding this action.”
Local 250-A has already challenged Proposition G with the California Public Employment Relations Board, and a hearing is set for later this year. A legal challenge at the federal level was rejected in November.
The SFMTA touted its new contract as saving $41 million over three years in labor costs.