New Muni attendance policy in the works 

Better late than never. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s head Nathaniel Ford told members of the Board of Supervisors Wednesday that they plan to try and adopt a policy to address drivers who do not show up for work. The No. 1 reason is calling in sick, followed by AWOL. The Examiner has written about this problem, including in June 2009 about a trend of Muni operators not showing up for work or calling in sick more often on Fridays or Mondays than other days.

Muni is not feeling much love lately, with a budget deficit leading to making it more expensive to ride the transit and a 10 percent service cut. Reports have come out criticizing the agency’s operations, and its budget faces the threat of rejection by the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor John Avalos summed it up quite well during Wednesday’s hearing on the Muni budget: “This is, I know, one of the worst times to be head of a transit agency.”

A new attendance policy is in the works for a July implementation.

“We are getting ready to try and implement another attendance policy,” Ford said. The new policy would have to be approved by the labor union representing the drivers.

“It’s a case of a few individuals that we continue to chase around in terms of their attendance problems,” Ford said.

The absent drivers increase the agency’s overtime spending.

“Every morning there is an effort to try and maximize the number of operators on the system and try to minimize the amount of cost in terms of providing that service. But absenteeism is a challenge there. [The labor agreement with Muni operators] is not as aggressive as it could be as it relates to absenteeism or misuse of absenteeism. That is an impediment to management,” Ford said.

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