July 28, 2000
Mr. Andrew Sullivan
P. O. Box 190966
San Francisco, CA 94119
Dear Mr. Sullivan:
This is in response to your letter to me and Larry Williams, dated July 24, 2000, regarding the proposed Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between the MTA and the TWU, Local 250-A.
Before responding to the specific issues raised in your letter, it is important to recognize that when entering negotiations, neither party should expect to come away with an agreement that exactly addresses all of their "pre-negotiation" positions. However, through the process of "good faith bargaining," after issues have been examined and more fully understood by the parties involved, this then facilitates reaching an agreement which best satisfies the overall "interests" of both parties. We feel that the proposed MOU is fair to both parties and complies with the requirements of Proposition E.
In responding to your points of concern, I will address them in the order they were presented in your letter.
Rescue Muni believes the draft MOU between the MTA and the TWU, Local 250-A does not comply with Charter Section 8A.104(m) because "there appears to be no incentive programs for on-time performance or service delivery." The MOU does in fact include incentive programs for on-time performance and service delivery. As your letter states, Section 8A.104(m) requires the MTA to pay incentive bonuses to service critical employees "based on the achievement of the service standards in Section 8A.103(c). (emphasis added) The following provisions in the MOU are based on the achievement of on-time performance and service delivery: (a) 4.4 Line Trainer Rate, (b) 9.3 Holiday Pay When Assigned to Work, (c) 9.5 Paid Status, (d) 14.3 Voluntary Reassignments, (e) 14.6 Headway Premium, (f) 15.5 Runs Subject to Daily Reassignments (SDR), (g) 15.6 Expert Operator Premium, (h) 18.3 Regular Days Off, (i) 31.2 Compensation Loss of Time, (j) Article 36: Customer Service Incentive Program, Accident Prevention Incentive Program, and Attendance Incentive Program.
Section 8A.104(m) does not require a separate incentive for each service standard. Nor does Section 8A.104(m) require the MTA to use "merit pay" as an incentive. The MTA has the discretion to decide what types of incentives to employ and how to structure such incentives, provided the incentive(s) are based on the service standards. The MOU satisfies the spirit and the letter of Section 8A.104(m).
The specific cost data relating to wages was not included in the initial information package given to the MTA Board on June 29, 2000, because this wage cost information is to be based on a survey of wages in effect on July 1, 2000. Now that the wage survey has been completed, and the average of the two highest wage rates has been confirmed, the cost analysis will be revised accordingly and resubmitted to the MTA Board and the public for review. We will also now include in the MOU, $22.44 per hour and $14.13 per hour as the "exact wage rate" for Transit Operator and Operator Trainee.
Notwithstanding, your assertion that "there appear to be no incentive programs for on-time performance or service delivery in this Agreement," we can demonstrate how each of the premiums, cited in your letter, will contribute to "productivity enhancements," and help us meet the milestones and service standards for "Service Reliability," "Customer Service," and "Employee Satisfaction" as approved by the MTA on June 20, 2000.
On the "Headway Premium;" no this is not intended to pay a premium to operators who run late, but instead to recognize the adverse impact on Operators who trail "missing leaders," and also to encourage Dispatchers to schedule and staff runs more efficiently.
MUNI management has not given up its flexibility to manage, and none of the concerns you express in this portion of your letter will result from agreements reached in these sections of the MOU; Proof of Payment implementation on other lines is not limited; discipline can still be administered appropriate to the offense; passengers will not be required to return for a second hearing if the Operator fails to appear at the first hearing; the extended time limits in the grievance procedure provide time for more thorough investigation and adjudication of grievances, and shortens the time period for dealing with more serious offenses; grievances involving "adverse effect of a schedule," are intended to address health and safety issues, and do not adversly impact our ability to effectively schedule operations; and the additional employee on special assignment involves an ADA accommodation issue.
As you note in your letter, the changes in Sections 9.5 and 18.3 are directly related to "reducing unscheduled absences" and its adverse impact on schedules and on-time performance. However, it is difficult to permit exceptions for so called "legitimate use of sick leave" when the very absenteeism problem this provision is intended to control goes to the issue of abuses of "legitimate sick leave." Further refinements of work rules here are best made after there has been demonstrated improvement in this area. In our opinion, to do otherwise at this time would hamper our ability to meet the service standards and performance goals required by Proposition E, and become counter-productive.
We are pleased that Rescue MUNI supports the modifications we have proposed to make in these areas of the proposed MOU. Likewise, we trust that with the above explanations, you now have a better understanding of the provisions of the proposed MOU.
Michael T. Burns,
MTA Board of Directors