Muni signs deal with one union, but operator negotiations are still ahead 

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Muni management announced the approval of key concessions from one of its labor organizations Thursday— although this harmonious pact did not involve the agency’s powerful operators union.

Through the result of contract talks, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, will save $1 million in employee costs. The concessions will not come from the operators union, but instead the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 6, which represents the agency’s 440 electricians.

The savings will come from redefining the work week to eliminate overtime for weekend hours, and the give-back of three paid holidays. The union will retain their pay rates from the 2009-10 fiscal year.

While the $1 million in savings will surely be appreciated by the SFMTA — which is facing a $22 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year—it’s small potatoes compared to what the agency thinks it can squeeze out of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents roughly 2,000 Muni operators. If negotiations go as planned, the SFMTA could realize $26 million in savings from the union.

Charles Goodyear, an SFMTA spokesman, said he didn’t know if the labor agreement between IBEW and the agency would set a precedent for upcoming pacts with other unions, but he did say it was a step in the right direction.

“Folks at the MTA are encouraged by this,” said Goodyear. “We can’t say right now if this will lead directly to agreement with other labor unions, but it’s certainly a key step as far as bringing down overall labor costs.”

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Will Reisman

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