Mayor Ed Lee condemns Muni worker 'sickout' as major delays continue 

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  • Jessica Christian/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Muni riders can expect delays today as the sickout continues.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is warning customers of a second day of major systemwide delays on Muni today due to a "sickout" by many employees stemming from labor contract negotiations.

The agency will add an additional 100 vehicles to the system today but notified commuters to expect service disruptions, Muni officials said.

Mayor Ed Lee condemned the "sickout" this morning, stating, "I join Muni riders throughout our City in their frustration at Muni drivers who irresponsibly abandoned their jobs and intentionally disrupted our City’s public transportation system. This cannot continue."

The mayor added that Muni workers are not using the appropriate avenue to express grievances about their contract. "There is a clear and agreed upon process in place to arbitrate the agreement you are disputing, a process the union has agreed to and the voters put in place. The public should not be punished any longer. I would like to thank the drivers who did not participate in this illegal action and did their best to keep our City moving," Lee said.

Supervisor Scott Wiener has stated he will introduce an emergency resolution at today's Board of Supervisors meeting to urge " Muni drivers to end illegal sickout and immediately return to work."

However, the union that represents Muni employees denied responsibility for the "sickout."

"The union played no role in what's happening on the streets right now, we did not sanction that," said Eric Williams, president of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A.

Union officials have complained about a 2010 law approved by San Francisco voters that altered the rules for arbitration proceedings between the SFMTA and the union and banned Muni worker strikes.

Muni officials issued a memo to workers Monday requiring them to provide verification from a health care provider in order to receive sick paid leave and said they may face discipline if no verification is received.

All express and limited buses will be stopping at every stop unless the bus reaches full capacity, according to Muni officials.

Cable cars will be supplemented with limited shuttle buses, Muni officials said.

Customers are advised to find alternative means of transportation, according to Muni officials.

BART is honoring all Muni fares between the Daly City and Embarcadero stations, Muni officials said.

On Monday Muni ran on a third of its normal capacity due to workers calling in sick, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

Many commuters experienced longer wait times and struggled to make their way around San Francisco on Monday.

“It’s time to get real, Muni workers are the second highest paid transit operators in the country,” said Bob Linscheid, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “Muni worker’s ‘sickout’ is nothing short of a strike – a clear violation of the City Charter. These spiteful actions are unnecessary and unlawful. Muni workers should return to work immediately for the sake of all San Franciscans.”

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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