Q&A: The Muni Operator Agreement

You may have questions about the Muni operator’s collective bargaining agreement. Here is more information about the recommended mediated settlement initially agreed to through the mediation process by both the SFMTA and TWU-250A, the Muni operator’s union.

1) Will Muni operators receive a wage increase?
Over the next two years, Muni operators could make over $32.00 per hour, which would make them the second highest paid transit operators in the nation. Effective July 1, 2014, this new wage includes a 5.05% increase to their base salary to offset the cost of employee’s paying their own pension contributions, plus a 3.0% cost of living increase. Both increases would take effect on July 1, 2014. In addition, as of July 1, 2015, Muni operators would receive a second cost of living increase of between 2.25% and 3.25%, depending on inflation.*

* Consumer Product Index (Urban) – February 2014 to February 2015

2) How does the “pension swap” work?
Beginning in July 1, 2014, Muni operators will pay 7.5% of their wages as their employee contribution to their pension benefit.  Muni operators will receive a pay increase to their base salary to help offset the cost of the employee contribution to the citywide retirement pension. The SFMTA will continue to pay the employer share of the retirement contribution at an effective rate of approximately 21%. With this agreement, Muni operators will begin paying the 7.5% pension contribution that all other city employees pay.

Muni operators hired prior to July 1, 2011, will receive a 5.05% base wage increase in exchange for assuming payment of the 7.5% employee retirement contribution. Muni operators hired after July 1, 2011, will receive a +1.68% wage increase in exchange for agreeing to pay the 2.5% employee contribution. With this agreement, a Muni operator’s pension will be at least 5.05% higher at retirement. 

3) Will Muni Operators receive health care benefits?
Muni Operators will receive comprehensive citywide health care coverage for themselves and their families based on the following formula.

  • 93% employer contribution/7% employee contribution to health coverage for employee only
  • 93% employer contribution/7% employee contribution to health coverage for employee + 1 covered person
  • 83% employer contribution/17% employee contribution to health coverage for Employee + 2 or more covered persons

4) What happens if the SFMTA and Muni operators cannot come to agreement by June 15, 2014?
June 15 is the last day a new contract can be made public in advance of going before the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval.  If a mediated or arbitrated agreement is not made public by June 15, wage increase for Muni operators cannot be approved for fiscal year 2014-2015 . This means that the salary, health and retirement benefits of the current contract will remain in effect, and the SFMTA would not be able to grant Muni operators a pay increase as of July 1, 2014. 

5) How do Muni operator wages compare with other transit operators?
Currently, Muni operators are the seventh highest paid transit operators in the nation. If this agreement is accepted, they would become the second highest paid in the nation at over $32.00 per hour. Most other transit operators at comparative transit agencies contribute a portion of their earnings to their retirement pension.

6) What is the process to negotiate with Muni operators?

  • February 18– May 7, 2014 – The SFMTA and the Muni operator’s union began the collective bargaining process
  • May 7 – The Muni operator’s union invoked impasse procedures, which led to both parties going to mediation as outlined in the city’s charter.
  • May 8-9 – The third party mediator conducted an all-day mediation session. At the conclusion of the mediation, both parties agreed to the recommended mediated settlement.
  • May 30 – Muni operators voted down the recommended mediated settlement by a vote of 1,198 to 47.
  • June – Both parties must return to either mediation or arbitration.
  • June 15 – The last day to make a mediated or arbitrated agreement public.
  • June 30 – The last day for the SFMTA Board to vote on an agreement.
  • July 1 – Muni operator Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement takes effect.