Muni sickout continues for second day

Crowds of riders wait for a Muni metro line at Powell station during the first sickout.
Photo by Jessica Christian

Update: At 2:23pm the SFMTA sent an update on shortened Muni Metro service. See our guide to Muni sickout service below.

Muni delays are expected for a second day as the sickout continues through Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed early this morning.

The reduction in service is slightly alleviated by an additional 100 buses in service, bringing the scheduled running fleet of buses to 300 out of 600.

The continued absence of hundreds of Muni drivers and other workers through simultaneous requested sick leave comes on the heels of an overwhelming vote by the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A to reject a contract proposal by the SFMTA. The main dispute in the contract is around pensions.

In a statement to press, the union said the wage increases SFMTA is offering wouldn't cover the pension increases. 

"Rather than improving wages and benefits, under the transit agency’s proposal," the union wrote, "the vast majority of drivers would be paid less in real wages over the life of the agreement than they make now."

“This is a great city, but a very difficult place to operate a bus, streetcar or cable car,” said TWU 250-A President Eric Williams. “This also is a very expensive city and while SFMTA’s ridership and revenues are on rising, the agency seeks to cut wages and benefits and convert full-time positions to part time.” 

The union said they offered to return to the bargaining table but were rejected, and anticipate arbitration will begin to help negotiate the contract. 

In the meantime, there's no indication when the sickout will end.

“I apologize to San Francisco residents and visitors for the continuing disruption to our transit service,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation, in a statement to press. “We are doing everything we can to get operators back to work and mobilizing all of our resources to keep as much service moving as we can.”

In a memorandum issued to Muni workers last night, the SFMTA warned drivers that strikes and slowdowns aren't allowed in the contract betwen workers and the SFMTA, and that abuse of sick days for a sickout may result in not being paid for their absence, or even termination.

The Bay Guardian tried contacting the unions for a response, but were unable to reach them by press time. 

In the meantime, Muni advised transit riders walk, bus, bike, or take any form of transit that isn't, well, Muni. BART will accept Muni transfers for the day. 

The SFMTA also issued a list of cancelled and delayed Muni lines for the day:

Muni Service

All routes and lines continue to experience missed and delayed service. Customers should expect crowding and waits of up to 60 minutes. Some routes may be turned back mid route to help minimize crowding. Announcements will be made via NextBus, on vehicles or in Metro stations. 

Muni Metro (J Church, K Ingleside, L Taraval, M Ocean View, N Judah, T Third)

New! – As of 3 p.m., Tuesday: the J, L, M & N will operate on short routes with limited bus shuttles to the terminals. Customers should allow extra time for transfers. See details below.

  • J Church—will operate between Embarcadero Station and 30th Street. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 30th Street and Balboa Park Station. Customers traveling between Balboa Park Station and 30th are encouraged to use BART or Mission Street routes.
  • K Ingleside—will operate on its regular route
  • L Taraval—will operate between Embarcadero Station and 22nd Avenue. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 22nd Avenue and the Zoo.
  • M Ocean View—will operate between Embarcadero Station and SF State. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 19th Avenue and Holloway and Balboa Park Station.
  • N Judah—will operate between Embarcadero Station and 19th Avenue. Limited bus shuttle service will be provided between 19th Avenue and Ocean Beach. T Third trains will provide service from Embarcadero to Caltrain at 4th and King.
  • T Third—will operate on its regular route

Muni Bus Service

  • No limited-stop service on the 5L, 9L, 14L, 28L, 38L and 71L routes
  • The following routes will not operate:
    • 1AX/BX, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX
    • 16X, 88
    • 3 Jackson – The majority of stops on this route are covered by the 2 Clement
  • 8AX Bayshore Express and 8BX will operate without changes.


Below we've embedded tweets and twitter photos from yesterday's #munisickout.



They are protesting the shoring up of their own pensions. Insanity.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:03 am

how about dont ride muni, the buses are crowded enough. get a bike or man up and get a motorcycle or get a better job so that you can drive in and pay for parking. enough with this San Franciscan entitlement

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:16 am

the fares that Muni collects pay for only a small part of their costs tructure - about 20%.

Every ride you take has a $8 subsidy from the taxpayers.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:22 am

ya, exactly but some people are confused in labeling themselves a customer when using a government service & expecting a customer experience. Muni is NOT a business which makes a lot of these rider complaints idiotic and unwarranted. How many times have you had a great experience at the DMV? Maybe once or most likely never. Government model.
Muni isnt making money off any riders, it costs SFMTA more to have the buses out on the st, a lot more than change dropped in a fare box or what bus passes cost. Maybe riders do get it and are just entitled which seems part of SF culture. or maybe they feel entitled b/c their tax $ are funding this operation. Ok, well maybe think beyond this minor inconvenience that may or may not be directly affecting you and focus in on how the gov spends money with near impunity on "defense". The US has a $10billion program to make 400 B61 nuclear bombs. Those are our tax dollars. We need nuclear bombs to protect our freedom from enemy soldiers wearing flip flops? or to protect us from N Korea who cant figure out how to feed it's people or provide reliable electricity? Memorial Day just passed and I saw all these ignorant pro athletes doing these spots thanking our military for protecting our freedom, it's a %#!@$@ joke! All part of gov brain washing. I myself was in the military and it was all busy work, wasting tax dollars. Every neighborhood in SF should look like St Francis woods but our gov spends $10b on nuclear bombs we dont need, clearly to benefit a hand full of 1%ers who have stake in these defense contracts. dont believe anything the gov says and dont believe anything the media reports

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 11:06 am

then it follows that every Muni bus should be clean, on time, with a respectful operator at the contols. Why isn't that true? It *isn't* because of spending on B61 bombs.

My analysis is that Muni is run *by* *intent* to fail miserably.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 3:17 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 3:54 pm

Luckily MUNI is part of the "entity" know as the City of San Francisco. The city collects revenue though taxes. Kind of a civics 101 lesson, but those taxes pay for projects in the public interest like MUNI. It will only fail if the public thinks it is not valuable. I think the sick out has made the public quite aware of the need for MUNI.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

makes the taxpayers far less willing to find Muni, as you will discover in November.

Transport is a business and it is supposed to pay for itself.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

Many people talk tough with threats of boycotting. Won't do any good by talking big. For me, I've stopped taking Muni and BART long time ago. Greedy public transit agency workers should stop complaining and get another job instead of inconveniencing others because of your own selfish problems.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

streetcars. But I never take the buses - they are disgusting. There is nowhere I need to go that is more than two miles from my house, so I just walk everywhere.

It's often quicker than a bus anyway, and far safer and more pleasant.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

MUNI: Customers are our bottom priority.

MUNI drivers, like all public employees, should be paying at least some of their own pension costs.

The pension time-bomb ticks. Bankruptcy looms without reform. Just ask retired San Bernardino police officers, who are not pensionless and broke.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:16 am

pension obligations in the way that Detroit is being forced to do under bankruptcy.

I am happy for SF to undergo chapter 9 bankruptcy if it is the only way to roll back these pensions. But I would much prefer that the city government grows a spine and converts all pensions to DC plans fully-funded by the workers.

The rest of us are sick of paying for our own retirement and for those of parasitic workers like Muni.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:32 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:32 am

Not if you have multiple sclerosis and walk with a cane.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:53 am

Why not just call Uber, this is today's San Francisco, loser.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:09 am

So you could take that from CalTrain to mid-Market and then walk along something like Polk and then Chestnut.

Or a cab, as you say.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:20 am

I walk a similar distance routinely, even when Muni is running "normally" because it is much more pleasant. And the 30 is one the few nice routes.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:18 am

"Nice" in that it does not traverse any black or brown neighborhoods, right?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:34 am

bus that travels between white neighborhoods?

Racist much?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:53 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:09 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:35 am

So if blacks really do commit more crimes per capita than whites, then it is not racist to state that. Indeed, such a situation cannot be fixed unless we first acknowledge the problem.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:14 am

Or don't Asians count as a minority any more, because they don't play the victim card?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:36 am

So by "nice" neighborhoods, you actually did mean neighborhoods that have been racially purified of "undesirables."

Posted by marcos on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:53 am

I observed that the 30 is one of the less troubled Muni routes. You then attributed that to race, which tells us more about your innate racist attitudes than it does about the reason why the 30 is nicer to ride.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:08 am

customers? Muni isnt a business therefore the title "customer" is unwarranted. If muni was a business it wouldve been bankrupt years ago.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:21 am

City government in SF is more of a jobs program than providing public services to city residents. The MTA itself has more than 5,000 employees.

Posted by Rob Anderson on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:31 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:21 am

When I worked for the City and said to my supervisor who was complaining about discipline not sticking when meted out "Part of the purpose of civil service it to hire those who otherwise would be on welfare" I thought she was gonna hit me. In a few years she agreed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

It's not like I can get a building permit or a condo conversion approval anywhere else.

I'd be comfortable with the only city workers being cops and firemen. The rest could be outsourced, privatized or simply ended.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

Want better service from Muni and also Cops and Fireman? The solution is a simple one. Require that they live in San Francisco for their first decade of City Employment. They'll have to personally suffer through all the crap they dish out. Something tells me, that alone will go a long way to changing their attitudes.

Posted by Right Wing Top on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 11:05 am

which is really dozens of smaller cities smack next to each other.

Employers telling employees where they can and should live is an infringement of rights and personal liberty.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 11:19 am

My comment was only about San Francisco, not the entire bay area.
Yes, I am aware that there are other, smaller nearby cities.
As for your theory, you are incorrect. For example, all SFPD command staff are required to live inside the City Limits.

Posted by Right Wing Top on Jun. 06, 2014 @ 8:15 am

I see no problem with that, because I am not in the business of telling people where to live.

It's possible that there is a SFPD mandate along the lines you suggest for senior staff, but they can probably afford a pied a terre in SF and a home elsewhere anyway.

The Bay Area is one city divided into lots of petty fiefdoms. SF isn't even the biggest city - San Jose is. Your beggar-thy-neighbor ideas are unreasonable and unworkable.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2014 @ 8:33 am

Proposition G - Setting Transit Operator Wages Through Collective Bargaining
November 1, 2010
This measure appeared on the November 2010 San Francisco ballot.

What it does

Proposition G is an amendment to the San Francisco City Charter that would require San Francisco transit operators to negotiate their wages and benefits through collective bargaining. Currently, transit workers are automatically guaranteed wages and benefits equal to the average of those paid by the two highest-paying transit systems in the country. All other City unions establish wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining. Although transit operators do bargain with the City over matters other than wages and benefits, because the City and the TransportWorkers Union do not bargain the key elements of compensation, the City's leverage in bargaining is significantly weakened.

Sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement at the bargaining table. In such cases, the parties reach an "impasse." In San Francisco, bargaining impasses for every group except nurses and transit operators are decided by an arbitrator selected from a list provided by the StateMediation and Conciliation Service. Under the existing charter, the arbitrator must consider, among other things, the City's financial condition. This measure would require the same impasse procedure to apply to transit operators. But the measure sets additional standards for arbitrators deciding on an impasse, including whether a proposal safeguards the interests and welfare of the riders, and whether the City has the ability to meet the cost of an arbitration award "without materially reducing service or interfering with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's ability to efficiently and effectively tailor work hours and schedules for transit system employees to public demand for service."

Most critically, the measure would place the burden on the union to justify work rules that interfere with management's ability to schedule and assign operators, emphasizing that existing work rules will not set a precedent in the future and demonstrating that Muni is following industry best practices.

Finally, the measure provides that informal agreements, including so-called "binding past practices" that historically have hampered Muni's operation, will not be binding unless approved in writing by the Director of Transportation or the MTA Board of Directors. The significance of this last provision is to make sure that all work rules are subject to public scrutiny.

Why it's on the ballot

This is the third major charter reform of Muni in just more than a decade. The first, 1999's Prop. E, created theMTA as the merger of Muni and the Department of Parking and Traffic to create an integrated transportation agency with responsibility for all modes. Prop. E established a baseline minimum funding set-aside of the City's General Fund and incorporated the City's Transit-First policy into the charter, among other things. In November 2007, the voters enacted Prop. A. That measure enhanced the MTA's authority to control traffic flow in the city, authorized theMTA to issue debt, set aside additional parking revenues for transit services, and changed charter provisions that stated that wages and benefits of transit operators "will not be in excess of the average of" the two highest paid transit jurisdictions in the country to a guarantee that operators will not be paid "less than the average of the two highest" transit jurisdictions in the country. In short, Prop. A converted a wage and benefit ceiling into a floor. Since then, transit operator wages periodically have been adjusted automatically.

SPUR was one of the authors and leading proponents of both Prop. E and Prop. A. We consider Prop. G to be an attempt to complete some of the unfinished business of these two previous reform efforts.We were part of the coalition that went along with the experiment of converting the driver's wage formula from a ceiling into a floor in 2007's Prop. A, on the theory that this would lead to management being able to win concessions on work rules. That experiment has failed.

As a result, Prop. G eliminates the wage formula completely. This will allow full collective bargaining and trade-offs between compensation and work rules.

The real motivation behind this measure, however, is to change the work rules at Muni, including:

Muni is not allowed to hire extra operators to cover peak periods of demand.
High levels of absenteeism are permitted without consequence.
Management has limited ability to discipline drivers for improper behavior, and must deal with an extremely cumbersome process to do so.
Overtime is paid based on vacation or sick days rather than actual time worked.
An analysis this year showed that better work rules could save Muni millions in operating costs each year. While Prop. G would not directly change work rules (and instead would leave this to future collective bargaining), the intent is to create conditions in which those changes can be negotiated successfully.


Prop. G will give the MTA better ability to negotiate away inefficient work rules that cost the agency millions of dollars every year and align work rules to best industry practices.
This charter amendment is moderate and flexible: Rather than cluttering the City Charter with further mandates about worker salaries or deciding work rules at the ballot box, Prop. G allows for dynamic negotiation that does not need to be put in front of the voters again and again as conditions change.
The ways this measure goes beyond normal collective bargaining as it is practiced in San Francisco's City government "” requiring the Board of Directors to approve any changes to work rules, directing arbitrators to take the effect on service into account when they mediate labor disputes, and so on "” could set very promising precedents for future good government reforms in San Francisco if they prove to be successful.

As with all collective bargaining processes, there is still no guarantee that this measure will result in any objectionable work rules being changed.
Passage of this measure could increase tensions betweenMTA management and the TWU.
By allowing bargaining impasses to be resolved by an outside arbitrator, there is still a risk, despite the measure's explicit instructions to arbitrators, that the arbitrator will take an unexpected course. Arbitration decisions present only a very limited opportunity to appeal.Most jurisdictions in California do not use binding arbitration for any employees other than public safety, and it could be argued that San Francisco should move away from this practice if it wants to make serious changes to its cost structure.
SPUR's analysis

SPUR's overall Muni reform agenda includes much more than Prop. G.We have fought successfully in the past 10 years to get Muni hundreds of millions of additional dollars.We have fought to give Muni the ability to redesign San Francisco streets for the benefit of transit and bicycles. We have fought to establish independence from political interference when tough decisions need to be made. We have helped Muni change its routes to serve more riders at less cost. There remains much more to be done. But no one can deny any longer that labor issues are also part of the problem.

Muni has perhaps the worst labor management culture of any City department, and we believe this stems directly from the fact tha Muni drivers, unlike the rest of the City workforce, do not collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions. This has set up a power imbalance in which management has nothing to offer in exchange for concessions on work rules.

This will be the third time we have reformed Muni at the ballot, after Prop. E and A. Our goal through all of these campaigns has been to create a professional, multimodal transit agency with the tools and independence necessary to run an efficient, effective, well-loved, well-used transportation system in San Francisco. We have a long way to go, but Prop. G will be an important step on the way.

SPUR recommends a "Yes" vote on Prop. G.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 7:46 am

and pretend to be sick, just because they are sulking because they didn't get everything that they wanted.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 8:22 am

I guess you've showed up to work everyday even when sick, just powered through because you're a hard worker with superior morality. Never once did you pretend to be sick to skip work

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:25 am

And anyway, this was an organized mass sick-out and not one driver taking a mental health day.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:35 am

Marcos=Grant Garza II

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:04 am

marcos posts to about half a dozen other blogs all day long as well. His boss is either very understanding or very stupid.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:35 am

above was their ballot argument from 2010, cut and pasted.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:00 am

There is no strike. Muni workers are exercising their contractual rights by calling in sick. Many are inconvenienced, but nowhere near the extent that they would be if there was a strike. Remember BART? This is WAY better.

Posted by Richmondman on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:08 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:20 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:09 am

~2500 operators
~700,000 riders a day

Ya and you're so honest, never did a single thing in your life that was "wrong"
here's a solution, dont ride muni. Fare inspectors write out 100s of tickets a day to all you honest riders, again dont ride muni

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:30 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:36 am

Thank God San Francisco is a "transit-first" city!

More opportunities for union blackmail!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:23 am

Fire them, fire them, fire them, fire them, fire them.

Posted by Marcos Grant Garza II on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

Fire them

Posted by Subcomandante Marcos Grant Garza III on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

the streets are sooooo easy to navigate

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Also from this author

  • Messed up: Did this man vandalize Alejandro Nieto's memorial?

  • San Francisco's shame and triumph: remembering the I-Hotel

  • Mayoral meltdown

    Mayor Ed Lee pushes back against ballot measures for affordable housing, transportation funding