Muni service cuts appear to be staying put 

Cuts to Muni bus and rail service that were supposed to be reinstated next month will most likely not happen, after a negotiator on Monday called efforts to gain labor concessions that would allow for service increases "dead in the water."

Members of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents more than 2,000 operators, rejected a proposed concessions package Friday that would have partially rolled back the recent 10 percent cuts to service that have resulted in longer waits on more-crowded buses.

The deal, supported by union leaders and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency management, would have saved $19 million, a sum that would have added buses to busy lines and restored late-night service, but rank-and-file members didn’t support the deal.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and SFMTA chief Nathaniel Ford have called for the union to recast votes on the savings package. However, it seems that union members’ minds are made up, said Bob Muscat, chair of the Public Employee Committee, which was at the bargaining table.

"It’s hard to give up, but I think the time has come," he said. "Personally, I don’t have any energy left to try [to reach a deal] again."

It was the second time Newsom failed to push through a concessions deal that would save service. In February, the union’s rank-and-file rejected a $14 million package.

Newsom publicly chastised the union for failing to join the rest of The City’s workers in giving back to maintain services. However, the deal gained more votes the second time around, including among workers at the Presidio yard, sources said.

The rejected deal would have lifted the prohibition on the use of part-time operators, restricted overtime and changed health care coverage for dependents.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is gathering signatures for a November ballot measure that would eliminate drivers’ guarantee of having the second-highest wage in the nation.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

 

Bargaining power

$27.92: Average hourly wage for Muni operators

$9 million: Total raise Muni operators will receive July 1

$19 million: Potential savings from rejected deal

$29 million: Cuts imposed to Muni service May 8, the second reduction in four months

2,200: Muni operators

700,000: Average daily Muni riders

Source: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

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