Muni’s $2 billion in federal funds safe

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A lawyers argued that Proposition G violated federal laws regarding a union’s bargaining rights. (Examiner file photo)Transport Workers Union Local 250-A lawyers argued that Proposition G violated federal laws regarding a union’s bargaining rights. (Examiner file photo)

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A lawyers argued that Proposition G violated federal laws regarding a union’s bargaining rights. (Examiner file photo)Transport Workers Union Local 250-A lawyers argued that Proposition G violated federal laws regarding a union’s bargaining rights. (Examiner file photo)

A federal labor official has dismissed a challenge by Muni operators that sought to invalidate much of the voter-approved measure that gave the transit agency more leverage in negotiating contracts.

The Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents about 2,000 Muni operators, filed the challenge in May with the Department of Labor in an effort to neuter Proposition G.

Union lawyers argued to the Department of Labor that Prop. G violated federal laws regarding a union’s bargaining rights. If the Department of Labor had agreed, it could have recommended that the Federal Transit Administration suspend all funding for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency projects — a total of $2 billion.

But that did not happen. J. Douglas Marchant of the Department of Labor rejected the union’s two main claims — that Prop. G gives management too much control over work rules such as scheduling and assignment staffing, and that it unfairly negates past practices achieved under prior agreements.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who helped write Prop. G, said he was not surprised the union’s challenge was rejected.

“When we drafted Proposition G, we knew what we were doing was legally sound,” Elsbernd said. “This suit is completely frivolous, and I have no idea why the union continues to do this.”

Spokesman Paul Rose of the SFMTA, which manages Muni, said the agency was pleased that the department ruled in its favor.

Despite the federal setback, Local 250-A officials remained upbeat that a second challenge against Prop. G at the state level would succeed. Local 250-A spokesman Jamie Horwitz said that claim will be heard by the California Public Employee Relations Board in February, and the union remains confident in its case.

Prop. G, approved by 65 percent of San Francisco voters in 2010, allowed agency management to negotiate its contract with Local 250-A through collective bargaining. Prior to that, many provisions of the union’s contract were enshrined in the City Charter and exempt from negotiation.

In May, the SFMTA and union leaders agreed to a new contract that the union’s members failed to ratify. An independent arbitrator subsequently imposed the terms of the contract, which an SFMTA representative said should save the agency $41 million over three years.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Transportation impact

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A has also filed a Prop. G challenge with the state.

$2 billion: Federal funding for SFMTA projects that could have been halted if federal challenge was upheld
$41 million: Three-year savings identified by the SFMTA through labor negotiations with union
2,000: Muni operators represented by union

Bay Area NewsLocalMuniSan FranciscoTransittransportation

Just Posted

A large crack winds its way up a sidewalk along China Basin Street in Mission Bay on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?

‘In the last couple months, it’s been a noticeable change’

For years, Facebook employees have identified serious harms and proposed potential fixes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have rejected the remedies, causing whisteblowers to multiple. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)
Facebook’s problems at the top: Social media giant is not listening to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers multiply, but Zuckerberg and Sandberg don’t heed their warnings

Maria Jimenez swabs her 7-year-old daughter Glendy Perez for a COVID-19 test at Canal Alliance in San Rafael on Sept. 25. (Penni Gladstone/CalMatters)
Rapid COVID-19 tests in short supply in California

‘The U.S. gets a D- when it comes to testing’

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

A new ruling will thwart the growth of solar installation companies like Luminalt, which was founded in an Outer Sunset garage and is majority woman owned. (Philip Cheung, New York Times)
A threat to California’s solar future and diverse employment pathways

A new ruling creates barriers to entering the clean energy workforce

Most Read