Friday, September 10, 2010

SF Muni Union Site: Gays Omitted;

Promotes Car-Driving

The local budget battle, in which many constituencies, agencies and public worker unions are grappling with cutbacks and working with The City to share the fiscal pain, has one actor that stands alone - the Muni bus and street car drivers.

The Transport Workers Union 250-A (TWU), have refused to accept reductions in benefits and pension contributions, unlike other city worker unions. The TWU also opposed Muni restoring services, after a few months of scaled-back operations, that would have directly helped passengers, and put more drivers on the road.

This union is losing the p.r. battle, big time, and there's local ballot proposition in November to change the city charter, to force TWU leaders and members to curb their greed and incompetence, and also reform Muni management. Get Vote Yes on G info here.

A story in this week's Bay Area Reporter gives the Muni drivers another blackeye to contend with. The BAR writes that a gay passenger, Larry Richardson, was assaulted and the driver was of little help:

The bus driver stopped, stood up, and told the other passenger [who made the assault] to get off the bus, but the man said, "I'm not getting off this fucking bus. You can't fucking make me get off," said Richardson.

"The bus driver let him stay on," he said. "He didn't call the police." [...] In his report to the transportation agency, Richardson said that the driver refused to give him his name. [...]

There ain't no scientific studies to back this up, but face these facts: Muni drivers are reluctant to lower the front-end for seniors and obviously disabled persons, and for bikers wanting to use the racks, smile as they drive by your stop with a half-empty bus, never ask folks to move toward the rear to clear up the clogged entrance, nor do they request everyone exit through the back doors, and as the BAR reminds us, bus operators do a lot to avoid dealing with troubled riders and tense situations.

But I digress. I was poking around TWU's site and their "About Us" section states the following:

As a member of Local 250-A, you belong to an organization whose mission is to protect and expand your wages, benefits health, and safety to improve working conditions, promote pro-worker legislation, and unite all workers regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or nationality.

Both sexual orientation and gender identity are omitted from that statement. Granted, a minor matter, but in this city, of all cities, I'd like for every union to publicly and frequently stated their commitment to support brother and sister workers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons.

Oh, and the TWU might want to reconsider their promotion of car-driving by members and the general public, to their monthly meetings. The site stresses the large volume of free parking, and not a word about encouraging everyone to take Muni to get there. Excerpted from TWU's site:






In case the TWU wants to promote public transportation among its members getting to the monthly forums, the closest Muni lines are the T, 23, 24 and 44 routes. If someone says ample parking and omits public transit info, that equals car-driving promotion.

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