MUNI Drivers to Go On Strike? No, But....
Some bad news seems to be brewing over at MUNI these days....the Chronicle and KCBS report that the driver's union and MUNI management are going rather poorly. The driver's union leadership walked out of talks, and Executive Director Nathaniel Ford has been adamant about salary and workplace rule changes he wants to implement.
All of this is happening as gas prices escalate to 4-5 bucks a gallon. and more people are usiing MUNI and other forms of mass transit. Oh and then there's all those cuts from the state. Brilliant.
Now, in this current dispute, it should be noted that it is illegal for the drivers to go on strike. However, there are other options for the union to employ that aren't "striking" but could slow down MUNI if things continue to get heated. Imagine a day when MUNI drivers pull off a sickout (which has been done before), or similar non-strike labor actions.
I don't know that either side in this latest dust-up has a lot of credibility with the citizens and MUNI riders right now. When Proposition A was being created significant concessions were made to MUNI unions and labor so that there'd be a united agreement to reform MUNI. Otherwise, MUNI and its allies at the SF Labor Council were prepared to fight to kill Measure A if they felt it was "unfair."
It is disingenuous of MUNI unions to put up a fuss and for labor unions to allow the driver's union to push back on Measure A's details a year later. Add in the fact that the driver's union leadership seems to have an obsession with supporting a few bad operators, while never once speaking up for the great majority who work hard every day, and, well, yeah.
Likewise, management isn't winning anyone's confidence either. "Times are tough," we keep hearing, but apparently not tough enough to hand out big pay raises to the director, and to spend money on political aides for the Mayor.
This is a moment when it's time for a leader to stand up, get MUNI's management and the unions together, and come up with a solution. I frankly don't care who that leader is (or are). But it seems to me in a city with a good looking, popular, well-paid "Green" Mayor, and a whole slew of well-paid Supervisors, all of whom aspire to things beyond their current job, someone(s) could hold a meeting with all involved and lock the doors, letting no one out until this gets settled.
It's not brain surgery or rocket science. All we need is for all sides to be honest (!) and go back to work doing the job of serving the citizens of Our Fair City.