Illegal Muni Strike May Hit Giants Playoff Series

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010  |  Updated 12:15 PM PDT
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Creme Brulee on the Move Around SF

Joe Rosato Jr.

A Muni bus passes through the terminal to pick up passengers. The terminal originally housed trains and rail cars which extended across the Bay Bridge.

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If ever there was a time to get a bike, the Giants/Dodgers series might be it.

Rumors are circulating that Muni drivers will stage a sickout when thousands of fans descend on the City to see the two teams play. It would be a gutsy move, not to mention illegal, for the drivers to strike. A flyer distributed among drivers states, "IF WE DON'T COME TO WORK HALF A MILLION PEOPLE WILL NOT GO TO WORK. IT'S TIME TO USE OUR POWER."

The union's official stance is that it opposes such a move. Instead, union reps have been working hard in court to prevent service improvements.

It's hard to say exactly why drivers and the union are unhappy. Management recently changed sick-leave policy and will begin charging all City employees to park in City-owned lots -- just like everyone else. Are drivers annoyed that they're being treated like regular citizens? Management is also trying to cut back on "stand-by pay," whereby drivers are paid to sit around doing nothing in the event that they're needed to cover someone else's shift.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Elsbernd is pushing ballot measure G, which would end a City charter provision giving drivers the second highest pay in the country.

It's a tough time for Muni, with subsidies from the City and state drying up in recent years. The agency has had to get creative to avoid shutting down altogether. Muni is also considering a measure that would charge extra fees to street festivals and farmers markets, which could cost operations like the Inner Sunset Farmers Market $10,000 per year.

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