Well, this could shake up the mayoral race, as well as ruining everyone’s commute possibly as soon as July, as the union of Muni operators, fare inspectors, and mechanics has rejected their new proposed labor agreement and might go on strike this summer.

Many of us are just learning today that the current labor contract for SF Muni drivers expires in just 28 days, on June 30, 2024. And we are learning this in the context that the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A union that represents Muni drivers, fare inspectors, mechanics, and other transit workers has rejected the new labor contract just offered to them, as the Examiner first reported late last week.

And yes, that could mean a Muni strike starting on Monday, July 1.

According to the Chronicle, 62% of union members voted against the new contract. In a May 29 vote, 613 of the union members voted against accepting the contract, while only 377 members voted for accepting it. The deal, which had been negotiated between the SFMTA and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, called for a 13% raise over three years.

Screenshot via TWUSF

Though as seen above, that 13% comes drip-by-drip in eight different very small increments, none of which are large enough to make for a noticeably bigger paycheck. You can read the proposal the Muni union rejected online.

No one’s talking publicly, as negotiations are ongoing. But the Examiner got a few Muni employees to talk behind the scenes.

“What they’re offering us — even with the raises — is so small in the percentages compared to the previous contracts,” A union member who identified himself simply as Matthew told the Examiner. Matthew also noted that Boston transit operators got an 18% raise in their new contract last year.

“You’re going in there risking your life to where you might get beat up, might get mugged or definitely get yelled at all day,” he added. “There’s no respect for the operator anymore.”

Sure, he’s got a point. But there is also the reality that the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is running a gigantic deficit, with ridership and fares still not back to pre-pandemic levels. And a transit-relief tax measure that state Senator Scott Wiener was trying to get on the ballot this year was just scrapped last week.

The transit workers’ union has a no-strike clause in their contract (just as they have a clause that they can’t be locked out). But that no-strike clause goes out the window if the contract expires before a deal is reached.

And there’s also a way around going on strike. You may recall there was Muni “sick-out” in 2014 where employees simply refused to show up for work, resulting in SFist headlines like Muni Tells Everyone They Probably Shouldn't Take Muni Home Tonight and Not Unlike Your Bus, Muni Drivers Union Fails To Show Up (For Contract Arbitration Meeting). That so-called sick-out lasted three days.

Related: Muni Drivers Pony Up Excuses For Sickouts As Union Leader Pleads Case In The Press [SFist]

Image: SFMTA