SFMTA approves new Muni driver contract

It took less than five minutes for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors to approve a new labor contract with Muni operators.

But those five minutes came after months of tense negotiations, a three-day driver sick out and a former mayor to finally get the labor contract completed.

The new three-year deal unanimously approved by board members at a special meeting Monday at City Hall includes a 9.75 percent wage increase to cover the cost of 7.5 percent pension payment operators will now have contribute and a 4.75 percent cost of living increase effective July 1, 2014.

Board members also approved a new three-year contract with transit fare inspectors.

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A members, which represents over 2,000 Muni drivers, ratified the contract on July 14 voting 634 to 485 in favor of it.

Union officials were not present at the meeting, but Muni operator Anthony Ballesterm who was present at the meeting, said to board members that he supports the new contract:

“The other members that voted for this, they weren’t really in favor of it. But they voted for it anyway because it’s a way of moving forward.”

Union members previously voted down a proposed labor contract 1,198 to 47 in May, which included wage increases, but union officials said the wage increases did not offset the pension cost drivers would have to start paying in the new labor contract.

After rejecting the proposed labor contract, hundreds drivers called in sick for three days in June causing major delays to riders throughout the entire Muni bus and Metro system.

With no progress being made, Mayor Ed Lee asked former Mayor Willie Brown to step in late June to help negotiate the deal that the SFMTA approved on Monday.

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin thanked Lee and Brown Monday and said:

“I think these agreements do represent good agreements for both our employees, the operators and the fare inspectors.”

Both labor contracts for Muni drivers and transit inspectors expire on June 30, 2017.