Eric Jaye: Muni Drivers Union Never Hired, Paid Me

Image | Alexia Tsotsis
'But that's history. I'm here, he's not. Do you wanna go on with me, you say it. You don't, then you make a move.'
Bulldog Political consultant Eric Jaye has, in a manner of speaking been thrown under the bus. He confirms he's no longer working for the much-maligned Transit Workers Union. But, he adds, he wasn't fired. In fact, he was never really hired, and certainly never got paid.

"The whole story is, [TWU President Irwin Lum] said 'I want to hire you guys' at two or three meetings, we said we're ready to go, and then he came back and said the [union's] board doesn't want to do it," said Jaye, who added that the union's crushing response to the "March Against Muni" was not choreographed by him. "So, we never really started working with them. Add dysfunctional unions to the list of problems of working in San Francisco."

Our calls to Lum were not returned. Jaye, the former longtime campaign consultant for Gavin Newsom, accused his former boss of making political hay at the expense of union drivers -- even though he's not earning a dime to say so.

"Now that I actually have no clients, can I speak as a resident?" asked Jaye, who does not own a car and rides Muni frequently. "How many times have you seen this before? The tougher things get, the more some politicians take advantage by pointing fingers. Operators of the Municipal Railway may have weak union leadership. But the problems of Municipal Railway are not their fault -- and fundamentally not their responsibility."

Jaye said both Newsom and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd -- who is championing a Charter Amendment assailing drivers' pay system -- are "excellent human beings." But "you have to sometimes help folks act responsibly. Gavin Newsom an Sean Elsbernd are influenced by the facts -- and it's important for Muni riders to focus on those facts ... You and I both know that operators are not making the rules."

While Jaye says he didn't get any compensation from the union, he says he still may profit from the association. "I think my daughter now has her father's day present," he said of the picture atop this article. "I think I'll see that picture on a mug sometime soon."

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