The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has run afoul of many of the citizens here lately. With budget cuts costing riders in the city some precious routes and overcrowded buses that have become a comfort issue, the citizens have only hoped to have better service from their drivers.
SFMTA had recently returned some of the cut services to riders. On Sept. 4th, riders found scheduling services returned to them on some of the lines that had been effected, such as 9 San Bruno, 14 Mission, 19 Polk and 43 Masonic, to mention a few. While many hailed the funding that was able to restore these services, some remained skeptical.
The unfortunate event of these service restores was that San Francisco drivers still remain as the highest paid drivers in all of the United States. During San Francisco’s budget mess this last year, the proposition to have all employees of the city take a pay cut was rebuffed by drivers, who were the only ones to receive a pay raise.
A group called Fix Muni Now formed petitions to bring onto the ballot for this November’s vote. When I heard about this proposition, I read it and what they ask in the proposition are sound.
What they propose is that the transit unions go through the same collective bargaining that the other unions in the city go through for their benefits and pay. Also, negotiations of work rules can be facilitated more smoothly, thus reducing some of the higher rates of absenteeism which causes services to suffer.
One of the other things that will happen as well, is the setting of the wages to a more manageable and nominal wage, instead of how it is done a present. At the moment, a city charter governs the provisions of how the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) is allowed to set wages, which at present average the two highest paying in the country. This is a boon for the city, as the collective bargaining with all unions will be equal across the board, with no favoritism.
This is an idea that has come at a great time to offer relief for the transit rider who ends up paying and paying with higher fares and service disruptions. Muni has many detractors in the public, and now riders will finally have a voice in November.