San Francisco Muni Riders Facing Long Evening Commute As Driver Sickout Continues
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco Muni spokesperson said commuters can expect much of the same long wait times they faced Monday morning as a driver ‘sickout’ took nearly two-thirds of the transit agency’s vehicles out of service.
“We’ll have a plan in place to get people back home and that’s going to look very similar to what we did this morning,” spokesman Paul Rose said in an interview with KCBS Radio.
Only about 200 of Muni’s roughly 600 vehicles were in service Monday morning. Cable car service was shut down and express buses were making local stops, adding to the major delays that occurred across the Muni system after a large portion of workers called in sick.
“We’re just doing the best we can to balance service throughout the city.”
Many commuters, including San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, took to Twitter Monday morning to vent their frustrations about the sickout.
“Walking from Castro to City Hall due to Muni driver illegal sickout. Thank you to the Muni drivers who actually showed up to do their jobs,” Weiner wrote, referring to a law passed by voters in 2010 that prohibits Muni workers from striking.
Muni operators voted Friday on a proposed labor agreement. Officials with the employee union Transport Workers Union Local 250-A made no recommendation on the contract proposal, but it’s clear they’re unsatisfied with SFMTA’s offer.
Its 2,200 operators represented by Transport Workers Union Local 250-A rejected the contract by a 1,198 to 42 vote Friday, according to totals on the union’s website.
Under the proposal, Muni operator’s pay would be raised to about $32 an hour on July 1–making them the second-highest paid transit workers in the country, according to the SFMTA. The outcome of the vote was not immediately being released, but TWU Local 250-A president Eric Williams said on the union’s website that it was an “unfair contract” and that the “city devalued our service as they proposed unreasonable take aways.”
KCBS, KPIX 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said that because they while operators aren’t allowed to strike, Muni can’t replace the drivers either.
“This isn’t an organized effort; it’s unofficial but they’re not happy about it and the Muni drivers, from past history, are pretty efficient about this,” he said. “When they want to go out sick and they wan to let their feeling be known; they are not shy about,” he said.
By 2 p.m. the transportation system’s evening shift had already reported for duty, according to Rose, but there won’t be a final count on the number of operators for Tuesday’s fleet until the early hours of Tuesday morning.