SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

San Francisco | Labor & Workers

SF: DO NOT SIGN ANTI-LABOR petition to cut Muni drivers' wages
by $
Friday Apr 9th, 2010 7:59 AM
Democratic Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is circulating a viciously anti-labor petition to cut bus drivers' pay as his way of solving public transportation problems. WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR PAY CUT BECAUSE YOUR EMPLOYER IS AN INCOMPETENT MANAGER? PLEASE DO NOT SIGN THIS ANTI-LABOR PETITION FOR A NOVEMBER BALLOT INITIATIVE.
Democratic Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is circulating a viciously anti-labor petition to cut bus drivers' pay as his way of solving public transportation problems. WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR PAY CUT BECAUSE YOUR EMPLOYER IS AN INCOMPETENT MANAGER? PLEASE DO NOT SIGN THIS ANTI-LABOR PETITION FOR A NOVEMBER BALLOT INITIATIVE.

This horrifying anti-labor nightmare, wihch will only make public transportation worse in San Francisco as it will guarantee a general strike that will last a long time, must be boycotted right now. It is sponsored by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) and Rescue Muni. It is being promoted as a means of solving public transportation problems in San Francisco. ALWAYS READ WHAT YOU SIGN. If the workers who signed this petition had bothered reading it, they would not have signed it. It is setting Muni drivers' wages through collective bargaining instead of the prevailing wages for bus drivers in the area, which has assured labor peace. Here is the summary:
and here is the Charter Amendment verbatim:

You will notice the snotty comments complain about drivers' "behavior." First, I suggest these complainers try driving for a living in San Francisco on crowded city streets and dealing with the general public for an 8 hour shift, 5 days a week. Everybody and anybody rides Muni, including all kinds of mental health cases. Second, since most of the drivers are non-white, usually either African-American or Latino, the racism is obvious in the complaints. And anyone who thinks cutting people's wages solves any problems clearly does not think at all.

TO LABOR: DO NOT BE TERRORIZED BY THIS PETITION INTO SETTLING FOR A WORSE CONTRACT. Your fight is our fight and labor must stand its ground if we are all to advance. WE CANNOT TOLERATE ANY MORE ATTACKS ON LABOR. The Central Labor Council needs to send out a mass Email to all its San Francisco members for whom it has Email addresses tell them to NOT sign the petition. It ALSO MUST PRINT LEAFLETS TO DISTRIBUTE THROUGHOUT SAN FRANCISCO at bus and train stops throughout the City and in all the restaurants and laundromats in the workingclass neighborhoods, which is most of San Francisco to tell people NOT to sign this anti-labor petition. DO NOT DELAY; NOW IS THE TIME TO GET OFF THE DIME.


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by MUNI Riders and Drivers United
Friday Apr 9th, 2010 12:21 PM
We have encountered some of their volunteers throughout San Francisco. At the CCSF campus on Thurs. some of their petitioners were catching people's attention by stating "Want to lower MUNI cost?" This campaign is focusing on the legitimate frustrations of individuals due to MTA's mismanagement and dismantling of MUNI and falsely putting the blame on the operators.

Much of this rhetoric is supported by SPUR and the now defunct "March against MUNI" movement that the right-wing propaganda newspaper "SF Examiner" tried to promote as a "people's movement" in March. It is conveniently taken on by a Supervisor who is representative of one of the wealthiest districts in SF (District 7). He neither has the interest of Riders at heart (since his constituents are the ones benefiting the most from this economic crisis and are the least dependent of MUNI) and he would love to see unions dismantled in SF. Say No to the Union Busting tactics of Supervisor Elsbernd!

There are several actions coming up during this month that will culminate with a MTA Board hearing on April 30th at 9am. The meeting will vote on this years MTA Budget which could include massive cuts and hikes. Being at this meeting and showing your direct support for more transit and the TWU-250a is what genuine "solidarity" is about.

A group called M.O.R.E. (MUNI Operators and Riders Expanding) Public Transit is bringing together community groups and activist from Senior Action Network, POWER, ANSWER Coalition, Day Labors Program, Transit Riders Union, and the TWU-250a to say:

No Cuts, No Hikes
Chop from the Top, Tax the Rich
SFPD: Hands off MUNI riders and funds
MUNI Riders and Drivers United for more public transit

MOREpublictransit.org (coming online early next week)
by Fix Muni Now
Friday Apr 9th, 2010 4:23 PM
A few points:

The "horrifying anti-labor nightmare" would make it so that, like every other union in the city, the Transit Workers Union negotiate their wages and benefits through collective bargaining. Are you saying that ALL of the other unions currently suffer through a "horrifying anti-labor nightmare" in negotiating their pay and benefits with the city?

Bus drivers have a tough job, and deserve both respect and a good wage. This charter amendment is not intended to lower bus driver pay. Instead, it is intended to restore the collective bargaining process so that inefficient work rules can be removed, and so that transparency can be added to the negotiating process.

Some examples of such work rules: currently, days taken as sick leave count toward overtime, so that, for instance, if an operator calls in sick for two days and then works for four, that last day is paid at the overtime rate even though the operator only worked four days. Currently, if Muni wants to hire a driver to work the morning and evening commute rushes, Muni must pay the driver for the time in between. These rules are bad for Muni and do nothing for riders or taxpayers. However, even facing multi-million-dollar deficits, the TWU refused to do away with even these blatantly unfair work rules to give Muni vital operating flexibility, instead forcing this onto the ballot.

If you would like to know what the campaign is really about, visit http://www.FixMuniNow.com. There, you can learn first-hand how this measure will help to make Muni more efficient and more financially stable, something we can all agree the system needs.
First, the snotty complaints are in the blog cited above at

Second, here is the Petition at
As you can see, it has many anti-labor provisions including eliminating the prevailing wage rate means of setting wages and allowing for binding arbitration. The title is clearly an anti-labor proposal: Setting Transit Operator Wages Through Collective Bargaining. The sponsors are not the workingclass; they are the capitalist class.

Third, as to work rules cited above, there is likely a good reason for the first work rule about overtime, but it is unknown to this writer. The second rule is obvious: Split shifts ruin anyone's day. The cooks union won a no split shift provision in their contract decades ago for just that reason. As we know, there is no restaurant without a cook, so that rule survives in unionized restaurants. There is also no transit system without drivers, and they better be paid a decent wage to drive those heavy buses and trains in crowded San Franciscso with all kinds of scenes by the passengers on the buses and trains.

THIS PETITION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WORK RULES OR SAVING MONEY ON PUBLIC TRANSIT. THIS IS A FIRST STRIKE AT DESTROYING ALL LABOR UNIONS AND ALL DECENT WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO. That is the point that must be made in all leaflets to tell people to NOT sign this anti-labor petition attacking the drivers of our public transit system which should hit San Francisco streets the week of April 12, as this well-funded campaign, with obviously unlimited resources to pay petitioners, has until July 6 to gather at least 45,000 signatures, and to be safe, 90,000 signatures by that date, for this Charter amendment. Paid signature gatherers will certainly be somewhere in San Francisco 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until July 6 to gather 90,000 signatures by July 6, a formidable task.

The waste is at the top with management making more than $200,000 a year. Since it is a public record, the names, positions and salaries of these people making over $200,000 a year, especially those connected to public transit management, should be listed on the leaflet.

As to wages, the measly $29 per hour the drivers make is just enough to support 1 person. The minimum wage should be $25 per hour. You need an income of at least $120,000 a year to buy a house in San Francisco, and you need a house to raise a family. No worker makes that kind of money. And when you consider the stress faced by transit drivers, we are lucky to have any drivers at all.

The pro-labor leaflets telling San Francisco voters not to sign this anti-labor petition should be circulated in all community areas where tenants live, as that is who the majority of the San Francisco workingclass are, especially tenants who live in rent-controlled housing, all built before 1979. This kind of housing exists in every supervisorial district, including Supervisor Elsbernd's district. It would be a good idea if the Central Labor Council worked with the San Francisco Tenants Union to reach all tenants, as we tenants have lots of experience in campaigning citywide against million dollar landlord initiatives.

It is good that there is a pro-labor website starting next week, and that pro-labor people are attending the MTA meetings, but that does not stop this petition. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE LACK OF LABOR CONSCIOUSNESS IN THIS COUNTRY. PLEASE GET THE LEAFLETS TO THE WORKINGCLASS VOTING COMMUNITY STARTING THE WEEK OF APRIL 12. That means going to bus and train stops, restaurants and laundromats, and all other public gathering spots. THERE SHOULD ALSO BE A MASS MAILING TO ALL WORKINCLASS REGISTERED VOTERS. Tenants regularly receive campaign mail that is clearly directed at tenants only so it is possible to sort by type of housing. IF YOU THINK LEAFLETS ARE EXPENSIVE, DEFEATING THIS KIND OF BALLOT INITIATIVE WILL COST MILLIONS, AND WE COULD STILL LOSE. There is justifiable anger at the state of public transportation in this city and country, but this petition will not solve the problem at all; it will make it worse. LET'S SEE A STRONG LABOR CAMPAIGN TO STOP THIS ANTI-LABOR PETITION NOW!
by Christopher
Monday Jun 28th, 2010 7:19 PM

Everyone is taking cuts, schools, ect. They are overpaid. No one should be paid by the tax payer 80,000 a year to drive a bus. This is our tax dollars, if they don't like the job they can always quit