A Transit Riders' Association for San Francisco
P.O. Box 190966
San Francisco, CA 94119-0966

Hotline: (415) 273-1558
board at rescuemuni.org

Andrew Sullivan
Chair, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
(415) 673-0626
>[email protected]

Daniel Murphy
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee
(415) 665-4074
[email protected]

Rescue Muni: Riders Need A Better Contract Too

Rescue Muni, San Francisco's transit riders' association, expressed concern that the draft agreements with the Transport Workers Union, still under negotiation, may not reflect passenger needs and may in fact violate the spirit and letter of Proposition E. Since the workers reportedly rejected another draft yesterday, Rescue Muni recommends that union leaders and management take advantage of this opportunity to make the contract better for management, workers, and customers.

"Frankly, we would have rejected the initial draft as well, because it doesn't include merit pay for achievement of service standards as required by Proposition E," said Andrew Sullivan, chair of the 600-member organization. "We haven't seen the most recent draft, as it hasn't been made public. However, we would have liked to see stronger provisions in the draft agreement to reward good service, and we hope that these make it into any final draft presented to the MTA Board."

Proposition E, passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 1999, requires in section 8A.104(M) that all labor contracts for "service-critical" employees, including operators as well as many other classifications, receive incentive bonuses for the achievement of Muni's service standards, including two standards specified in the Charter, on-time performance and service delivery. The specific language is below:

[A]ll agreements negotiated by the Agency relating to compensation for Municipal Railway managers and employees in classifications designated by the Agency as 'service-critical' shall provide incentive bonuses based on the achievement of the service standards in section 8A.103(C) and other standards and milestones adopted pursuant to Section 8A.103.

While the draft agreement included incentive bonuses based on various criteria, it did not include bonuses for on-time performance, and Rescue Muni finds this unacceptable. There was crystal-clear agreement in the negotiations that led to Proposition E on the intent of section 8A.104(m): operators, managers, station agents, and other "service-critical" employees would all receive merit pay based on the achievement of various standards, including
the two spelled out in the Charter, on-time performance and service delivery. Since all parties to the MOU negotiations were intimately involved in the final drafting of Proposition E, they should be familiar with this intent, and with the explicit language of the amendment.

"We didn't just include service standards and merit pay in Proposition E for the fun of it," said Daniel Murphy, vice-chair of the organization and an active participation in the drafting sessions. "On the contrary, hundreds of volunteers endured harassment by our opponents to get this into the charter. Ditto the requirements for explicit cost accounting for all years of each agreement. These may not be past Muni practice, but the voters have spoken: it's the law."

Sullivan cautioned that the current disagreements between labor and management must continue to be handled professionally by all sides, and that service must not be adversely affected. "Riders are seeing improvements now, and ridership is up. It would be tragic, not to mention totally unacceptable, if Muni or TWU forced people back into their cars over a labor dispute," he noted. "The recent headline said it all: Muni's on a roll. Let's keep it that way."

Rescue Muni is a transit ridersí organization for customers of Muni. It was founded in 1996 by Muni riders seeking to improve the systemís reliability, service, and safety, currently has about 600 members, and continues to grow rapidly. In addition to their annual ridersí survey, Rescue Muni serves as a citizensí watchdog group for Muni. Rescue Muni co-sponsored November 1999ís Proposition E after circulating their own charter amendment earlier that year and participating in City Hall negotiations. Rescue Muni is an independent, nonpartisan group run entirely by volunteers and supported solely by its membersí dues.

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Posted 8/24/00.