Muni drivers ratify labor contract

Muni operators voted Monday to approve a new three-year labor contract with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after months of tense negotiations.

Union members of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A voted 634 to 485 to approve the contract, which includes 9.5 percent wage increase that will cover a 7.5 percent pension payment operators will now have to pay and also a 4.75 percent cost of living increase over the next three years.

SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement:

“This contract is a reflection of our commitment to ensure that Muni operators receive a fair wage for the very difficult work they do. Yesterday’s vote represents the strength of the new agreement and allows us to continue our work to further improve the transportation network for everyone.”

Muni operators voted 1,198 to 47 to reject a proposed labor agreement in May, which led them to hold a three-day sick out in June. Hundreds of drivers called in sick causing delays throughout the entire Muni system.

Talks between management and union officials were not improving after the sick out until Mayor Ed Lee asked Willie Brown to step in. The former mayor worked with union leaders to come to an agreement.

Brown wrote in his Sunday column in the San Francisco Chronicle how he got involved and making sure union President Eric Williams wanted him at the table:

“It took five days, but we got a deal.”

Lee said in a statement that he is grateful that Muni drivers and the transit agency reached an agreement. He thanked Brown for getting involved:

“Muni is a vital system for our traveling public and our entire City, and I want to thank our former Mayor Willie Brown for successfully brokering this agreement to keep our City moving.”

The SFMTA board of directors plans to hold a meeting on July 30 to approve the contract.