Although I managed to get a short post out before I headed off to a seminar I was running for the day job, I couldn’t do any follow up, as the many Twitter DMs, emails and reactions piled up to yesterdays unauthorized labor action by MUNI employee Kavai Muao-Harris, who decided it would be awesome to screw everyone’s commute in the morning by throwing a temper tantrum and blocking the buses from leaving.
From my own observations, as well as that of those attending our seminar, there was a definite ripple effect for a good part of yesterday with delayed and crowded buses, and so on. Reading the news coverage of this little escapade, however, is something that easily gets ones blood to boil.
First, the reason for this chidish act was over some stupid assignment for the day’s work. Now, if this person had blocked the buses because they were rolling deathtraps, unsafe for passengers, that would have been ok since that would have been protecting the safety of people who use MUNI.
However, for someone who’s job is not only to work for us, the owners and riders of MUNI, but also to act as a union negotiator, to pull a stunt like this over something this small is bullsh*t. In the end it was not MUNI management who got screwed – it was anyone who has to be at work on time in the morning (i.e. the owners and riders of MUNI).
I can’t stress this enough. I am tired of being told we are “customers.” We are not. We own the system, it is ours, and yes it has problems and sometimes the management needs a kick in the backside to get things right. That does not change the fact that the ultimate responibslity of everyone at MUNI is to work for our benefit, not their own. That’s the definition of working in the “public sector.”
I guess what’s most galling is that of course, this person wasn’t fired. Now, imagine if you, at your job, did something equally as dangerous to your company’s operations over something equally as trivial. Would you get paid adminstrative leave and a long investigation that may or may not involve some sort of punishment? No, you’d get fired in a minute.
Likewise, in this economy, being late to work is a great way to get fired. If anyone lost their job because of this action taken, frankly, they oughta sue this person for lost wages. I sure would.
Finally, there’s this gem from Irwin Lum. You remember him as the guy who fought in court to make sure the public didn’t know who the few rotten MUNI drivers were. He’s the guy that runs the union that never seems to celebrate the awesome drivers who make our day and make the system run right.
“We are still investigating the situation as to what led to this incident,” Lum said. “We would like to apologize to the public for any inconvenience that they may have incurred.”
“May” have ocurred? Are you frakking kidding me? This is as hollow an apology as one could offer. News flash, Irwin: if you want us to take your side in your disputes with MUNI management, why don’t you start by trying to show us why we should? Why instead do you keep on defending bad apples like Kavai Muao Harris and a few bad drivers, and instead try and get MUNI to reward the good ones?
Then of course, in the Chron article he did offer a bit more insight:
(Lum) said there is growing frustration among the ranks of Muni employees that goes way beyond the beef over seniority. Not only are employees feeling that management’s treating them with a lack of respect and dignity, he said, but morale is plummeting due to the agency’s budget constraints, with funding hits coming from the state and a raid of Muni coffers by other city departments.
Well, duh. We’ve been talking about these issues for years. Helpful hint: why doesn’t your union join with Everyone Else Pissed Off at Green Gavin and Green Arnie who’ve been sticking it to MUNI and MUNI’s owners (us) all this time?
Maybe when Green Gavin asks you to endorse his campaign for governor you say “no”? Or maybe, just maybe, why don’t you stop looking at all of us as your adversaries and realize we have more in common than we don’t. Better yet, kick people who endanger the system for petty disputes to the curb. None of us needs ’em and the bad will they generate across town.
I’m not holding my breath. I think as the economy and governments circle down the drain, no one really cares about anyone else these days. So, the next time these clowns cry wolf, I won’t be rushing to help ’em out, even if a “wolf” is really there that time.