Union members expressed frustration Friday that they haven’t been more involved in the safety oversight of Muni’s operations, with many workers saying that the California Public Utilities Commission investigation of the agency was long overdue.
Several members of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents 2,200 operators, spoke before the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Friday, reiterating a claim that the agency prioritizes service expediency over safety standards.
SFMTA management and CPUC officials meet biweekly to discuss safety and operational issues on the agency’s rail system, a conference that is not extended to union members. Michael Postell, a Muni rail operator since 1980, said that union input would be extremely helpful in detailing problems on the system.
John Haley, director of transit at the SFMTA, and Reginald Mason, safety chief at the agency, did not commit to the idea of including the union in their CPUC meetings, with the two men saying that they confer internally with workers on a regular basis.
The tension between management and workers escalated after the meeting, with one Muni operator visibly confronting agency chief Nathaniel Ford in the hallway. The operator accused Ford of withholding his regularly scheduled pay, a charge the executive director denied.
The agency held a special hearing on Friday to discuss recent allegations made by the CPUC.