By Examiner Editorial : sfexaminer – excerpt
The last week of 2015 has kicked up some noxious fumes over the low wages paid to our city’s newest transit drivers.
Muni is assuredly no one’s model metropolitan transit agency, with regular service delays and breakdowns, perpetual grime and random crime, and now we can add employee revolt to the mix. But for good and for ill, it is how we roll in The City. Despite the well-publicized problems, it remains the best — and, for many, only — way to travel through San Francisco.
For those who doubt there is social strife resting uncomfortably just under the surface in this city, spend some time aboard Muni. The transit lines pulse with the character and tensions of The City. Physical fights and harsh words between passengers are not uncommon, but neither are music, new insights and unexpected conversations. The transit lines certainly aren’t San Francisco in a microcosm but rather are The City in a pressure cooker — each ride seems potentially explosive and revelatory.
But if not all is serene in the passenger area, increasingly discontent is also growing for those behind the wheel…
In a series of interviews, operators and union reps told the Examiner that unrest is growing within the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over the inequity of the latest contract. Experienced Muni operators typically make $60,000 to $70,000 a year, but the 800 Muni operators hired since July 2014 make 63 percent of that under the new contract — as low as $37,000 a year, before union dues and benefits. One full-time Muni operator told us he makes about $2,100 a month, after taxes… (more)