Can Anything Stop 'Fix Muni Now'?
The measure would eliminate a strange exception enjoyed by the Transit Workers Union, who don't engage in collective bargaining but instead earn at least the second-highest salary in the nation based on provisions in the city charter.
The most powerful portion of the "Fix Muni Now" legislation doesn't deal with money, however. If it were to pass, drivers could well earn just as much or more -- but during the give and take of collective bargaining, TWU employees may be compelled to modify or discard a number of archaic, unproductive "work rules" which bind Muni's hands and cost the city millions.
In fact, if the city and the Muni drivers go into binding arbitration, the union would have to justify why its existing work rules "outweigh the public's interest in effective, efficient, and reliable transit service and [are] consistent with best practices," to quote directly from the proposed legislation. This, essentially, is the backbone of "Fix Muni Now."
And Elsbernd thinks this is a good thing -- for him. He predicts voters will still overwhelmingly vote for his measure, even if Muni halves its service cuts -- as it this week promised to do. Any money or effort the TWU pours into the effort may not offset the vile reputation the union has earned with the general public based on its repeated spurning of concessions -- and status as the only city union to vote down give-backs.
Will voters be confused by potentially having two Muni reform initiatives on the next ballot. Perhaps not. "One of them will be supported by the union and one of them won't," said Elsbernd. "That's all it needs."
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