Promises, Promises: The N Won’t Stop At 19th? Um, Yeah, Great, But…

One of the most common complaints of Loyal Readers since this blog started in 2005 has been the random, infuriating, and sometimes dangerous arbitrary turnarounds at 19th and Judah Street by N Judah operators.
The effect is not just annoying – if you live in the Outer Sunset, and you’re dropped off at 19th, you’re looking at a 20-30 block walk, or more. Bad enough if you’re a hapless commuter – even worse if you’re a senior citizen or disabled citizen who relies on MUNI.
Thus, it was interesting to read this story, suggesting that operators who do this would be fired immediately. This was supposedly due to pressure from Supervisor Chu and Assemblymember Ma, who represent the Outer Sunset District. Um, thanks gang!
I’d love to think this is a reality, but there’s just one little problem. After some some bitter labor negotiations with the Driver’s Union leaders, which ironically happened right before a serious N/T crash, the union got away with no real changes in their contract, or any of the disciplinary measures sought by management to fire blatantly incompetent employees.
And, in a textbook case of MUNI FAIL, the driver involved in the accident on Monday was observed driving improperly just an hour before the crash that sent 14 people to the hospital by a top manager who called it in, but to no avail. Think that person got “fired on the spot?”
Guess again.
What galls me the most is that the MUNI reform measure, Proposition A, made VERY SIGNIFICANT CONCESSIONS to organized labor to ensure the measure passed, and attempt to address their concerns. Many stricter work rules were taken out, at the behest of the San Francisco Labor Council, and MUNI unions. This was done to try and make it so everyone would win – make MUNI better, and be fair to everyone involved.
For Local 250A’s leadership (and please note that it’s the leadership, not the general members I’m critiquing) to first act like spoiled children when asked to do their frakkin’ jobs properly, then stick us with another contract that basically keeps a status quo no one is happy with is nothing but cynicism, masquerading as “promoting working class interests.”
It is also an insult to the SF Labor Council, who negotiated the changes to Prop. A in good faith – only to have their own union brothers and sisters at Local 250A stab the Labor Council in the back.
Add to that the fact we’re going to pay millions in settlements for the screw ups of the June and August crashes alone, and you can see why people who have to do their jobs or get fired are sick and tired of this kind of bulls*t.
This is what happens when you have union “leaders” like Mr. Lum of Local 250A, who have a madman’s devotion to defending the worst drivers, while doing not a damn thing for the many many hard-working drivers who serve the public with courtesy and efficiency.
(Why, just today on the way to work I observed the driver of the 45 this morning who handled a tough situation with an unruly crowd with class and distinction, or the awesome cable car riders on my commute to Powell station today. Does the union work for them? No, because they aren’t causing wrecks or racking up complaints.)
Worst of all? The erosion once again of the public’s trust in our City to do something as simple as run the buses and trains on time. Plenty of OTHER cities of less than a million people seem to make this work OK – why do we in San Francisco treat this as some Herculean (or Sisyphan) task?
The boards are open….your thoughts?

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