SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — The transit union representing San Francisco’s bus drivers and train operators is threatening to strike after less than two months of contract talks, even though their existing contract and the city charter prohibits it.

A flier distributed by some members of Transit Workers Union Local 250 A, and provided to CBS 5 on Monday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, indicated that a strike authorization vote by the union’s membership was underway.

City negotiators said they have just entered into the second month of contract talks with the TWU and two other unions representing Muni employees. The current labor agreement doesn’t expires until June and the strike threat seemed to take city officials by surprise.

“Any strike threat at this point violates numerous sections in our current labor agreement, the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco and the Government Code,” said Debra Johnson, the lead negotiator for the city.

Union president Rafael Cabrera has not publicly commented on the strike vote, but the flier that was circulated suggested the sticking points in the negotions to date were wages and retirement benefits.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

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“San Francisco Has Plenty of Money – Our Salaries and Pensions are Not the Problem,” reads the flier.

Johnson disputed that claim, noting that the SFMTA currently faces an $18 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in June.

She added that the average Muni operator now earns more than $101,000 a year in salary and benefits.

“Contrary to the union rhetoric, SMFTA and the city are trying to close budget shortfalls,” said Johnson. “We need to find ways to cut costs, not spend more and more every year.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (36)
  1. patb/muni commuter says:

    I say we do a Ronald Reagan and just fire them. The are pampered, over compensated, overpaid fools to risk their jobs like this. I guarantee there would be no trouble filling the positions. There jobs are not easy but they need to look at the overall picture.

    1. Bardot says:

      They are just bluffing. With this economy and unemployment we have we can replace all their positions in two weeks. Supervisors, drivers, mechanics, office workers, etc.which we can replace right away with half of what they are making and a better service. Yes, wake up San Francisco.

    2. muni operator says:

      you are full of it u try operating up and down the streets of the city and the different situations we encounter every trip

  2. Steve Comm says:

    We the riders should go on strike, dirty buses, some not all rude drivers. Fire any driver that strikes and drive the Unions out while we are at it.

  3. Lottawanna says:

    Yes let them stricke and fire them! The “Era of Entitlement” needs to end and we can start with MUNI

  4. Chris says:

    We need to start over with MUNI… they have taken advantage of previous administrations who refused to stand up to them. No other City union gets these kinds of perks and entitlements. They need to be put on a level playing field. We got part of the way there with Prop. G… now we need to finish the job and just sack the whole current lot and make them re-apply under more rational and fair rules.

    1. muni operator says:

      check santa clara

  5. RB says:

    If they strike, in violation of their own contracts, they should be fired. Simple as that. Muni seems to be the only city service in San Francisco where the employees have lost sight of the fact that they are supposed to be serving the needs of the city. Even the hospitals, fire department and police have had to take cuts in recent years…what makes Muni’s employees so invaluable? They’re one of the city services where it would be easiest to find replacements for the employees!

    1. muni operator says:

      we have taken cuts in the past when other city workers didn’t. We took a 2 year wage freeze that no even mention

  6. tomfitzg says:

    Even us Liberals are against MUNI. Let them go on strike and lets fire them all.


    It’s time for the private sector to operate MUNI. Riders can count on clean buses, friendlier drivers, lower fares, and more on-time, efficient services. Also, you can also count on not having much of the riff-raff that uses MUNI all the time, since MUNI will be runned by the private operations we can force anyone who causes problems out. MUNI can be privatized and, with the current recession, we can force the current MUNI operators to work for 35-50% less than they are making now, or we can just fire them and find replacement workers who will do the same job for much less and no benefits.

    Isn’t the private sector beautiful?

  8. Jaded says:

    Really? REALLY!? Well, at least if they strike no one will get run over, no one will get run into, and no one will be texting on the job. We will actually be safer! Let us look at the bright side…

  9. CMV says:

    we have many unemployed people around the bay area that would love to have their jobs. go ahead, make my day.

  10. HooDatIS? says:

    they need to uphold there end of there contract!
    crazies! go ahead and strike and the unemployed people will have your jobs
    visit my blog

  11. Kodiax says:

    if they strike, fire them just like the traffic controllers. they agreed to the no strike clause, they cannot just decide to ignore it now.

  12. john says:

    $101 for driving a bus… my GOD are they overpaid. Let them strike and hire all ne drivers

    1. muni operator says:

      we don’t make that much the key word is benfits such as medical,dental,oasdi,HI and retire ment contribution which we also pay the majority of it. So those benfits are never seen and is the same for all othere city employees

  13. davey says:

    Raise the fees.

  14. Duke says:

    I agree with all the comments, fire all of them and hire new qualified people.

  15. Brandon Espinosa says:

    Let em strike and let em go! Kick the MUNI BUMS OUT! They are overpaid, underworked and always late!

  16. sigh says:

    These drivers are driving themselves out of a job. One day buses will be driven by automated systems (see CalTrans and Google automated cars). These MUNI drivers are bringing that day closer and closer -but you know what? They don’t care. They only care about the here and now.

  17. proud_bay_man says:


  18. Liberal says:

    On average 1/3 of the MUNI drivers are out sick on daily basis, they are being paid $100.000 on average for what they do and they are still complaining. I strongly encourage them to quit and go out to look for a “better” job. That’s the least they deserve.

    1. muni operator says:

      you don’t have a clue you are saying over 725 Operators call in sick on a daily basis LOL

  19. ptown says:

    The city doesnt have the courage to stand up to the union…gauranteed.

  20. Hank Thompson says:

    It’s not a vote to go on strike now,it’s poll vote among the drivers folks don’t get it twisted like the media is reporting now and i wish i was making over $100,000 cause it don’t show that on my paycheck

  21. hlt says:

    You so called smart people who voted for prop g didn’t read the small print when you voted when the current drivers contract expires on june 30 2011 so does the no strike clause sean elsbernd didn’t tell all you suckers that

  22. Christian Miller says:

    Here’s the word for the 21st century: go on strike, you’re fired. Period. No comment. Done. With a do-not-rehire flag on your personnel record.

  23. Patricia J. says:

    I hope they do strike, and I hope it causes a huge uproar and backlash against so-called city “leaders.” The city attempts to violate or amend the contract when it suits them, and there’s no reason the unionized workers shouldn’t do the same. As much as the city “leaders” and media would like you to believe otherwise, muni employees did not cause or create this recession. Don’t forget where it did start: with private corporations (banks, etc). I don’t blame muni employees. I don’t blame anyone for trying to secure a living wage. this area is very expensive to live in.

    1. sigh says:

      100k a living wage, really?

      Don’t conflate this issue with the recession. One issue at a time.

      I do blame the MUNi workers –well, anyhow, they’ll be working themselves out of a job. Let’s welcome automated buses and forget overpaid workers –I mean drivers. It’s not like they’re on time or efficient in any way.

      1. muni operator says:

        we don’t make the schedules