In my post San Francisco Infested with Union Parasites and Pestilence; Outrage Over Transit Worker Pay I noted how greedy public unions finally overplayed their hand by rejecting an 8% pay raise with a contract that guarantees they get the second highest pay in the nation.

In a followup story, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is now going ahead with his initiative to address Muni pay, because the city council wimps did not have the courage or the decency to take on the unions. Please consider Proposed initiative aims at Muni drivers’ pay

A San Francisco supervisor is following through on his plan to curb Muni’s labor costs and on Monday submitted a proposed initiative for the November ballot.

The plan takes direct aim at a controversial salary formula enshrined in the city charter that for more than four decades has guaranteed Muni drivers their spot as the second highest-paid transit operators in the nation.

It also would eliminate a trust fund for Muni operators that has resulted in yearly payouts of up to $3,000 for full-time operators. The fund originally was established to help defray health care costs for dependents, but operators can use that money any way they choose.

Elsbernd turned his proposal over to the city attorney for official review Monday and hopes to start collecting signatures by month’s end to qualify it for the fall ballot.

He has until July 6 to collect the valid signatures of nearly 47,000 voters registered in the city.

Elsbernd has the backing of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, a civic think tank, but many at City Hall and in the transit-advocacy community are taking a much more cautious approach.

If enough valid signatures are gathered, the proposed amendment would be on the Nov. 2 ballot.

What Took So Long?

That’s all it takes? So, what took so long? If voters approve this, expect to see more such initiatives.

Irwin Lum, president of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, responded by saying “To just focus on operators isn’t right and isn’t fair.”

Yes, indeed, San Francisco needs to do something about all union termites and parasites, not just the union termites and parasites at Muni. Moreover, it is sad to gather all those signatures only to do a wimpy job on an initiative that does not go far enough.

“What this will do is divide people instead of dealing with the bigger issue of funding” said, Irwin Lum.

No. What will do is unite voters against city hall and unions. When this passes, and I expect this to easily pass because the proposal is so modest, citizens will be even more encouraged by such measures. It’s the perfect out for council wimps who do not have to challenge unions directly yet, it offers what seems to be a relatively easy process for citizens to take matters into their own hands.

Although Elsbernd did not go far enough (perhaps on purpose to make sure this passes), he must be commended for having the courage to start the city on the road to curbing union termites and pestilence.

Expect this initiative to pass, and emboldened citizens to follow up with more termite ridding measures.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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