Transit union blamed for Muni cuts 

Mayor Gavin Newsom slammed The City’s transit union Tuesday, blaming the labor group for contributing to the service cuts that have left riders waiting longer for fewer buses.

Newsom has been aggressively negotiating with all city labor unions to get concessions that would help to close a $483 million budget shortfall by Tuesday, when he must submit a balanced budget to the Board of Supervisors. So far, the mayor said he has reached deals with all labor unions except Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni operators.

On May 8, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, imposed a 10 percent service cut to help close a budget deficit. The cuts will save the agency an estimated $28.8 million.

However, members of the Board of Supervisors said they will reject the SFMTA’s $750 million budget unless it reduces the 10 percent cut by half. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will continue the discussion June 2.

“It says everything you want to know about labor leadership — who is committed to the people of this city and who is clearly only committed to themselves,” Newsom said Tuesday. “TWU has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to themselves, not to the riders.”

As Newsom wraps up his budget plan for next fiscal year this week, he said he continues to put pressure on the transit union to agree to the $14 million in concessions that leadership had agreed to but was shot down by the full union.

Supervisors have $7 million they could allocate to Muni through their role as members of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. Combined, the two moves could significantly stave off service cuts, officials say.

But union members say the budget problem is much more deep-rooted than whether Muni drivers take a pay cut or not.

“He can say all he wants, it is what it is,” said Rafael Cabrera, vice president of the TWU. “This [union] doesn’t sit around and wait for money to fall; we aren’t just sitting here doing nothing.”

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