Union member locks Muni gate

February 18, 2009 7:05:07 PM PST
A long-time Muni employee is on paid administrative leave after disrupting the morning commute for thousands of passengers. She blocked buses from leaving the Muni yard for more than an hour on Wednesday morning.

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Talk about a Muni meltdown -- this time it wasn't the buses, but one unhappy employee.

Kuvai Muao-Harris, A 21-year veteran of the transit system, used her car to block the gates at the busiest Muni yard in San Francisco for at least an hour.

It has never happened before, and dozens of buses that serve more than 24 routes all over the city were blocked from pulling out.

"This is not a proud day for us this morning," said Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford.

Ford is the head of Muni. His agency has enough challenges delivering efficient service without what he calls a self-inflicted wound.

According to Ford, the woman involved is a union leader who apparently had a problem with management over another employee's job assignment.

"Surprised, yes, because we have clear avenues for employee disputes to be resolved in a dignified, respectful manner," said Ford.

Seventy buses were affected and each carries 50-60 passengers. We were told some of the buses could have made two trips during that time, so you can see thousands of people were impacted by the actions of one individual.

Daniel Murphy is with Rescue Muni, a transit riders association. He wants the woman dismissed.

"If you can't get fired for this, I don't know what you can be fired for. This has to be treated as something completely intolerable," said Murphy.

The disciplinary process is underway. The head of the workers union declined repeated requests for an interview, but did apologize to commuters.

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