San Francisco Muni, Drivers Agree on Tentative Contract

A Muni trolley bus rolls on the system's No. 6-Parnassus route. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
A Muni trolley bus rolls on the system’s No. 6-Parnassus route. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

San Francisco transportation officials confirmed Monday that they’ve reached a tentative agreement in a contract dispute with Muni bus and rail operators that led to the partial shutdown of the city’s transit system earlier this month.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin said after a closed session of the agency’s board that former Mayor Willie Brown mediated the pact at the request of Mayor Ed Lee.

“I do believe it wouldn’t have happened without him,” Reiskin said of Brown’s role in brokering the new contract. The union will vote on the agreement next week. If it approves the deal, the MTA board of directors will vote on the pact July 15.

No details of the agreement were immediately available, but the major dispute between the two sides centered on future pension payments that union members will make.

An agreement reached in early May, and later rejected by the rank and file of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, called for workers to begin paying 7.5 percent in pension contributions for which the city has been responsible. In exchange, union members would get a 5.05 percent wage increase to offset the the new pension payment. They’d also get a raise of 3 percent in the first year of the two-year contract, and a cost of living increase of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in the second year.

Union officials said an analysis of the deal, done after they had initially agreed to the pact,showed that members would actually have less take-home pay despite their higher gross wages, which could have reached $33 an hour.

The dispute led Local 250-A members to reject the contract with a 96 percent “no” vote. That decision was followed by a three-day sickout in early June that crippled Muni service.

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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