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Arbitrator May Delay Taking Up San Francisco Muni Contract That Prompted Sickout

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Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are warning riders to expect major delays on Muni Monday morning as higher than normal bus and light-rail operators have called in sick Monday morning due to a labor dispute.

Fisherman’s Wharf bus yard (Holly Quan/CBS SF)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – An arbitrator may not take up the San Francisco Municipal Railway contract that prompted a driver sickout this week as quickly as initially planned.

Muni workers called in sick en masse three days this week after overwhelmingly rejecting the contract last Friday. Muni officials initially said the arbitrator would take up the contract on June 7, but talks Friday called that timeframe into question.

Under Proposition G, which San Francisco voters passed in 2010, the contract automatically goes to an arbitrator. Prop G also includes language that the arbitrator will approve the contract as is, unless the union can provide evidence that its interests outweigh the public’s interests.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said both sides met Friday, but did not take up the rejected contract. Instead, they discussed two lawsuits filed this week—one by the San Francisco City Attorney alleging an unfair labor practice over the sickout and the other by the union over Prop G.

Rose said those talks will determine how arbitration would eventually proceed, but he could not say when the arbitrator would ultimately hear the case.

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