Muni, union close to new accord

After a long, contentious negotiation process, the Muni operators’ union potentially hashed out a tentative new contract Tuesday.

Representatives of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A — which includes approximately 1,900 Muni operators — have been butting heads with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials, who had called for stricter discipline for problematic drivers and scheduling changes, among other concessions from the transit operators.

The workers, who operate Muni’s streetcars, buses and cable cars, have been working without a contract since June 30.

With The City facing a budget deficit of more than $300 million, top officials for the public transit agency have said there is nothing in the way of salary and benefit compensation to bring to the bargaining table.

In June, Transit Workers Local 250-A President Irwin Lum stormed out of SFMTA head Nathaniel Ford’s office after negotiations hit a wall, both sides said.

Details of the contract were not revealed Tuesday afternoon but Muni spokesman Judson True said that if the workers approve the contract, the transit agency would release details of the agreement today.

Workers were voting on the contract as of late Tuesday afternoon. The contract would then go before the transit agency for approval. Lum did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

Bargaining between the two sides had broken down in recent weeks on several issues — in particular, the union’s request for increased wages and benefits under reworked contracts.

In early June, Ford told The Examiner that the SFMTA was too cash-strapped to meet union officials’ demands. He also said at the time that he wanted the SFMTA to have more leeway to punish operators who are frequently absent or involved in accidents.

On Tuesday, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s spokesman Nathan Ballard said the mayor has been supportive of Ford throughout the negotiations.

“Overall, it hasn’t been particularly rancorous. I think everyone is committed to working together,” Ballard said.

City officials had said any contract should address customer service, accidents, attendance and customer complaints.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

Union specific

A look at the transit union voting on a deal with Muni management

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A

1,900 workers operate Muni’s streetcars, buses and cable cars

Working without contract since June 30

Union president: Irwin Lum

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