Tentative labor agreement reached with Muni operators

May 31, 2011 9:59:46 PM PDT
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has reached a tentative agreement with its transit operators' union, an SFMTA spokesman said today.

The agreement comes after three months of bargaining between the SFMTA and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, and would save the agency a minimum of $21.3 million over the course of the three-year contract, SFMTA spokesman Charlie Goodyear said.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the members of the union, which represents the roughly 2,200 operators of Muni's buses and light-rail vehicles, as well as by the SFMTA board. Officials with the union were not immediately available this afternoon to comment on the agreement.

Among the provisions in the proposal are a pay freeze for the operators, the ability for the agency to hire about 200 part-time workers, and several changes to work rules, including overtime and discipline procedures, Goodyear said.

The two sides have been meeting since March, but "in the last six weeks the tempo had accelerated," with several bargaining meetings a week, he said.

The talks were not without their contentious moments. In April, the union voted to authorize a strike in case the negotiations broke down, and is also seeking to overturn Proposition G, which was approved by the city's voters last November.

The proposition changed parts of the city charter that ensured that Muni drivers would have the second-highest operator salaries in the country, and it requires that contracts be negotiated through collective bargaining and binding arbitration, similar to other city employees.

But Goodyear said the tentative agreement reached by the two sides is "a very positive development, and one that could potentially pave the way to wider resolution of outstanding issues."

Members of TWU Local 250-A are expected to begin voting on the proposal next week.

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