Muni's Holiday Giving Proves Generous

Supervisor wants to give San Francisco voters chance to overturn will of San Francisco voters

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is in a giving mood this holiday season.

After 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve, you can ride Muni for free in San Francisco to get around town, or to connected to other transit agencies that, like Muni, will be offering extended hours, including SamTrans and Caltrain.

Also, Muni operators who got paid for all their hours this year can expect a year-end bonus of $3,000.

But a fiscal responsibility grinch on the San Fracisco Board of Supervisors, Sean Elsbernd, is now questioning Muni's generosity, especially in these times of pinched pennies -- Muni is facing a $70 million budget deficit.

And those bonuses add up to around $6 million a year, so the theory goes that slashing the bonuses could shave nearly 10 percent off the shortfall next year.

But a representative for the union that represents Muni operators explained that the "bonus" is actually a charter-mandated payment from a city-funded trust to make sure that employees receive health benefits on par with other transit systems.

The larger issue is whether the voter-approved addition to the City's charter which determines wage and benefit scales should be changed to give more power to Muni management to negotiate employee compensation.

If the SFMTA is as good as charging riders more while providing less service, just imagine how good they'll be at paying less and demanding more work from employees!

Photo by Flickr user danisabella.

Jackson West did not get a collective bargaining agreement under the tree this year.

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