Muni union files challenge to Prop. G, could jeopardize $2 billion in funding 

Muni’s operators’ union has filed federal charges to stop the implementation of Proposition G, an action that could force voters to repeal the initiative or lose $2 billion in funding for the transit agency.

Lawyers for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents roughly 2,000 Muni operators, filed paperwork with the Department of Labor on Monday that challenges aspects of Prop. G. The union believes that the ballot initiative violates a section of the Federal Transit Act guaranteeing fair bargaining rights for transit employees.

According to union spokesman Jamie Horowitz, if the Department of Labor accepts these charges, it can withhold certification to the Federal Transit Administration, a move that would halt $2 billion in federal funds committed to Muni for projects like the Central Subway and Cable Car maintenance.

If that ruling happens, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, could file suit against the federal government. Beth Ross, a lawyer for the union, said that if that measure if unsuccessful, the only way for the SFMTA to get its pledged federal funding would be for voters to repeal Prop. G, which passed last November by a 65-35 margin.

SFMTA management and the union are currently involved in historic labor negotiations. If those talks reach an impasse, the dispute would go to an arbitrator. However, Ross said the wording of Prop. G makes that process unfair, since an arbitrator could only rule with the union under conditions that don’t undermine transit reliability or service. Those terms are too vague and impossible to prove, Ross said.

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Will Reisman

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