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Transit operators at the San Francisco Municipal Railway will continue to be — by city law — the second-highest paid bus drivers in the nation, after efforts to reform their salary structures were abandoned Thursday.

Muni operators’ wages have been determined via a nationwide survey of other transit agencies’ paychecks since 1967. Transit operators are guaranteed the second-highest wage in the nation; all other public and municipal employees’ wages are determined through negotiations with the city (i.e. collective bargaining).

Proponents of the salary reform, including measure sponsor Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, pointed out that the salary survey means Muni operators receive raises even in tough budget years. Muni wages are expected to raise by $8 million in the next fiscal year; Muni faces a budget deficit of nearly $60 million during that same time period.

Elsbernd pulled his measure Thursday after weeks of opposition from labor leaders. Those same labor leaders also met with Mayor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. Newsom gave Elsbernd’s measure a cool reception in public Wednesday; no other politician would support the measure publicly.

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  • Greg Dewar

    This is what happens when politicians go for headlines and political games, instead of good policy. Singling out the drivers was an easy way to score points with a frustrated public, but of course, did nothing to address the huge pay for administration, and other employee groups. So it fell flat because if there was a drive to really reign in salary costs, the amendment would have needed to include them too to do any real good.

    And, let’s not forget that Sup. Elsbernd and the Mayor have always supported large pay increases for OTHER public employees, and silenced critics who suggested this wasn’t a good idea in troubled times. So this whole charade finally fell flat.

    There’s no doubt that we need changes and we need to reward the GOOD people at Muni who actually care about their jobs , and show the ones that are layabouts the exit. None of that was addressed, and the result was that a half-assed idea is dead.

    The fact no one is concerned that Nate Ford makes over 300,000/year plus benefits, plus will get paid EVEN IF HE WAS FIRED FOR NEGLIGENCE, and yet can’t explain adequately to the MTA why the LRV’s at West Portal run slower now than they did in the early 1900s, well that says a lot.

  • Greg Dewar

    This is what happens when politicians go for headlines and political games, instead of good policy. Singling out the drivers was an easy way to score points with a frustrated public, but of course, did nothing to address the huge pay for administration, and other employee groups. So it fell flat because if there was a drive to really reign in salary costs, the amendment would have needed to include them too to do any real good.

    And, let’s not forget that Sup. Elsbernd and the Mayor have always supported large pay increases for OTHER public employees, and silenced critics who suggested this wasn’t a good idea in troubled times. So this whole charade finally fell flat.

    There’s no doubt that we need changes and we need to reward the GOOD people at Muni who actually care about their jobs , and show the ones that are layabouts the exit. None of that was addressed, and the result was that a half-assed idea is dead.

    The fact no one is concerned that Nate Ford makes over 300,000/year plus benefits, plus will get paid EVEN IF HE WAS FIRED FOR NEGLIGENCE, and yet can’t explain adequately to the MTA why the LRV’s at West Portal run slower now than they did in the early 1900s, well that says a lot.

  • Xenu

    But I thought massive payments were the only way to ensure good employees.

    Wasn’t that why Wall Street banks had to give out multi-million dollar bonuses? (And they were using public money too.)

  • Xenu

    But I thought massive payments were the only way to ensure good employees.

    Wasn’t that why Wall Street banks had to give out multi-million dollar bonuses? (And they were using public money too.)

  • kl2real

    FAIL!

  • kl2real

    FAIL!

  • Nicky B.

    I understand that going after Muni to reign in spendig after this past year of transit calamity may at first seem politically self-serving, but how is it in the best interest of anyone aside from Muni drivers to maintain a policy that will have crippling financial effects on this city? Are supervisors worried that by removing this absolutely mind-boggling “salary insurance” we’ll suddenly be faced with a shortage of competent drivers? Isn’t that already the case?

  • Nicky B.

    I understand that going after Muni to reign in spendig after this past year of transit calamity may at first seem politically self-serving, but how is it in the best interest of anyone aside from Muni drivers to maintain a policy that will have crippling financial effects on this city? Are supervisors worried that by removing this absolutely mind-boggling “salary insurance” we’ll suddenly be faced with a shortage of competent drivers? Isn’t that already the case?