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MUNI Perks

While enjoying a meatball sandwich earlier today, I picked up a copy of this week’s SF Weekly, one of the city’s free weekly newspapers. The cover story happened to be on the real reason that MUNI service is so bad: the employment perks that MUNI employees receive. Did you know that these people are entitled to 7 days a year where they can wake up, decide that they don’t feel like working, and go back to sleep without even so much as a call to their supervisor, or anyone for that matter, to say that they’re not going to be at work? Not only that, but they also get 10 days a year where they are able to go into work late — late in this case meaning not the common 30 minutes or an hour or two, but being able to arrive at any time before their shift is over — again, without having to call anyone to say that they’ll be in late.

If that interesting little tidbit isn’t ludicrous enough, just remember that the public transportation workers in this city are the second-highest paid in the country, and get 13 sick days and up to four weeks of vacation per year on top of all those allowable absences. If none of these policies float the typical MUNI driver’s boat, they can always choose the slightly unethical, yet workable options of either cutting their bus runs short or calling in a false breakdown just to get home a little earlier. With all of those perks, you would think that a prompt, professional and efficient citywide public transportation system would result. But yet, we riders of public transportation are still standing idly at bus stops, watching the minutes tick by and planning how we’re going to explain today’s tardiness to our bosses because unfortunately for us, we don’t have the same extra-lenient, union-backed lateness policies as the drivers do, and also unfortunately for us, we’ve used the “I was stuck on MUNI” excuse so may times that its beginning to sound like we’re crying wolf.

The truly shitty part of this whole scenario — aside from all the disgruntled MUNI riders — is that it’s probably never going to change, because if anyone does try to change it, MUNI workers, who are unionized, will simply go on strike and the city will come to a complete standstill. Unions were originally designed to protect the worker from a dangerous work environment, but now it seems that union members use the fact that they are able to go on strike to ensure themselves more and more often-undeserved perks. If unions keep being abused in this way, we’re going to need something to protect the rest of us.

Posted in Muni Chronicles.

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