June 4, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s famed cable cars remained idle on
Wednesday morning on the third day of a worker sickout, but light-rail
trains and buses returned to their regular routes as service improved.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was operating at about 70
percent of its normal service, up from 50 percent a day earlier and 33
percent on Monday, spokesman Paul Rose said.
Rose said cable cars could also resume service in the afternoon.
“The fact that we have more vehicles on the street than the last two days leaves us cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Workers and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are
at odds over a new contract. Workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract
proposal on Friday that union officials said would have resulted in a
The drivers’ union president, Eric Williams, said Tuesday
that the labor group has nothing to do with the sick calls and urged
those who called out to be prepared to have a doctor’s note.
agency known as Muni runs buses, light rail and street cars in addition
to the cable cars and serves about 700,000 passengers each day. Its
operators, represented by Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, rejected
the contract by a 1,198-42 vote Friday, according to totals on the
Williams declined to comment on operators calling in sick because
he said the union had no role in sanctioning the move. He sent a letter
to union members Tuesday urging them to only use sick leave for “legitimate purposes.”
The workers are not allowed to go on strike, but they can call in sick.
officials said those who reported being sick must confirm they were ill
to get sick pay and could be subject to discipline up to being fired.
told union members “to resume and continue the excellent service we
give the public” and that while having a doctor’s note is not normal
practice, the agency has emphasized it because of the callouts.
Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement that he joins riders throughout
the city in their frustration at the drivers who have “irresponsibly
abandoned their jobs and intentionally disrupted” service.
“This cannot continue,” Lee said. “I say to our drivers, ‘People count on you to do your job so they can get to theirs.’”
contract that Muni workers rejected would have given them a raise of
more than 11 percent over two years. However, it also would have
required them to cover a 7.5 percent pension payment currently paid by
the transit agency, said Rose, the agency spokesman.
The contract would have increased operator pay to $32 an hour,
making them the second highest paid transit workers in the country, Rose
Williams said other city workers were getting a better pension deal than Muni drivers.
“Our members are hard-working, and all we want is fairness,” Williams said.