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.

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