Endorsement interviews: Elsbernd on Muni reform


Sup. Sean Elsbernd came by to talk to us about Prop. G, his ballot initiative to change Muni workers’ pay, and threw in a pitch for Prop. F, a fairly minor change in the way the Health Service Board is elected.

His central argument on Prop. G: Muni workers are the only city employees with a salary guarantee in the City Charter. The law says the drivers have to be paid at the level of the second-highest-paying comparable urban transit district. It’s not that they make too much money, Elsbernd says; it that the Charter requirement puts the city in a bad place during contract negotiations and gives Muni management “zero leverage to make any changes in the egregious work rules.”

Interestingly, the drivers don’t seem to oppose the idea of taking their salaries out of the Charter and negotiating like other city employees. They’re upset about another provision of the Elsbernd measure -- a binding arbitration rule. The city has binding arbitration for all labor negotiations, but under Prop. G, if the Muni unions and the city are at an impasse over work rules, the burden of proof would be on the union to demonstrate that its proposals won’t impact service.

“Fixing this,” Elsbernd says, “is central to fixing Muni.”

You can listen to the interview here.

elsbernd by endorsements2010



Interesting discussion here.

SFBG: "The drivers are worried that needs for services for passengers will trumph driver needs." (around minute 36)

Elsbernd stated the case for Prop G fairly well.

The city charter guaranteeing them "the second-highest pay in the US" gives drivers an overwhelming advantage in contract negotiation.

Drivers get a $3,000 bonus every December to cover healthcare costs for dependents, even though 60% do not have dependents.

MUNI cannot hire part-time drivers, so drivers sit on their duffs doing nothing and collecting pay between the morning and the evening commuting times.

They can collect overtime pay without working 40 hours.

Interesting discussion, too, toward the finish about the fact that drivers get all kinds of services at public expense that they do not pay for. (This is an old Milton Friedman-libertarian argument: drivers should pay for parking at curbside, for road upkeep, for congestion, via direct charges to them collected by city and state governments).

Posted by Barton on Sep. 23, 2010 @ 7:49 am

Amazing how uninformed the BG editorial board is on Muni...it's so obvious none of the folks at the BG know a damn thing about Muni, and can't get past their pathetic ideological rigidity. Like watching Cold War Communists at the UN.

Posted by Chairman Wow on Sep. 24, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

I live in Miraloma Park which is part of D7 and Elsbernd is our supervisor. He is a huge disappointment because he does nothing to protect the character of our neighborhood. Greedy developers are starting to chop up this neighborhood, inserting sub-sized parcels and Elsbernd is not lifting a finger. Maybe when some of these projects get closer to his house he might get off his duff.

Sean, do you even know how despised you are in your own neighbrohood? Do us all a big favor and resign. Oh, Newsom would appoint another lap dog.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2010 @ 10:50 am