Though Muni seemed to be running at its usual level of C+ to B- level activity this morning, all is not hearts and flowers following last week's commute-crippling sick-out. Instead, we're told that contract negotiations between drivers and management have gone from bad to worse, with communication apparently at a standstill.

Though SFMTA management and representatives from the Transport Workers Local 250-A were supposed to meet Saturday for an arbitration session, that meeting was "called off" (if you read the Chron) or "the union refused to show up" (if you watch KPIX).

Speaking with KPIX (you can watch the whole interview below), Muni chief Ed Reiskin says that "the union was not willing to go and the arbitrator was not willing to hold an arbitration without them so we are now working with them to try to get them back to the table, whether in mediation or arbitration so that we can get to a deal."

In any case, the expected meeting didn't happen, which means that though drivers will be working under contract until June 30, there's little wiggle-room for negotiations to get back on track before time (and the drivers' contract) runs out.

So, does SFMTA management expect another sick-out? That's unclear. Paul Rose, spokesperson for the transit agency, tells the Chron that "We haven't heard any rumors" and Reiskin appears unwilling to touch the possibility, telling KPIX that "there are lots of other paths we could take" if another sick-out happens.

But, really, a sick-out is up to the drivers, and they're not talking: SFist's calls to TRU 250-A representatives were fruitless at publication time.

[SF Chronicle]