Why TWU Local 250A's "FU" to Muni Owner/Riders Is a Good Thing! Really!
If you've not heard already, then you should know that a plan to eliminate some of the service cuts imposed by Nate Ford, Gavin Newsom and the MTA with some givebacks by our Muni operators was voted down on Friday.
While I've never bought in to that whole bag of Gate-commenter nonsense that "driver pay" was the only thing crippling Muni's finances (it isn't), the one-time givebacks asked for weren't that bad. At the very least, it'd have been a show of support for both the riders, and for other unions, since other unionized employees have suffered layoffs and pay cuts, all the while TWU Local 250A is getting pay raises and big overtime bonuses.
No other unionized group working for the City has this deal - they also took pay cuts and layoffs during a horrific economic crisis. Plus, Muni runs like crap now, with endless delays and cutbacks that cripple many of the community routes people rely on.
So here was a chance for the much-scrutinzed Muni operators to show a little good faith effort and share the pain and they chose instead to endorse service cuts and a nice, big "f*ck you" to other unions and most importantly, to you, the owner/rider of Muni. "Why," you ask "is this a good thing?"
Simple. We now know where their true loyalties lie, which means now, we also know where the loyalties of so-called "Transit Rider Unions" lie too. Since Muni is the fashionable cause of the year, we have many little groups running around claiming to be All About Muni. But look close and you'll find that one, the SF "Transit Rider's Union," counts in its leadership the head of TWU Local 250A, and another, called "MORE" is nothing more than a front group for the ultra-leftists in town (who never cared about Muni ever) and for TWU.
In other cities, TWU actually IS a friend of the owner/rider of other transit systems (no really, I'm not making this up), but not here. When you see a group use bullying tactics and scream racism because they don't want to negotiate with collective bargaining like EVERY OTHER F*CKING UNION IN THE NATION, and defend an arcane pay system that results in "pay me not to work" rules and endless overtime, you realize these folks simply don't care about Muni, or you, the owner/rider. (Remember, these are the people who told you to "get a damn car" in response to actions that delayed a morning commute).
Their actions also ensure that ballot measures to create new sources of stable revenue for Muni won't pass, because people will look at this and think that Muni is just wasting a lot of money. (It does dumb things, but stealing away a good portion of the budge via work orders and Sacramento really causes the most damage).
As such, they deserve no representation in any group that claims to speak for us. They are free to work with a rider's group, but not dictate to it. They already have a group for them - we need a group that speaks up for the 700,000 owner/riders that have been forced to accept a slow, expensive, poorly managed mass transit system in a city of only 49 square miles.
So while I'm sorry to see that some service cuts won't be healed anytime soon, at least we now have on the record where one group stands - which is not with us. They are entitled to do that. We, however, are entitled to take back our Muni from the politicians and the do-nothings, and fix it.
PS: I'd love to have seen the upper management of Muni, and Prince Gavin do a pay cut too, but of course that never happens.
PS2: A reader noted that out of about 2000 operators only 1200+ voted. I guess that whole "pay me not to work" thing extends to union activities too?