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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Muni Contract Falls Through

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 5:49 PM

It's worse than a reality show
  • It's worse than a reality show

Update: Union leaders deny leaking tentative deal to press ahead of time. Read more after jump.

Muni operators overwhelmingly rejected a contract agreement last night -- and are squarely placing the blame on a Muni spokesman.

As the Chron notes this morning, union officials say that the deal fell through because of the actions and statements made by Muni's hired PR man, Charles Goodyear. Rafael Cabrera, president of TWU Local 250-A, said Goodyear's actions last week "created a sense of concern and mistrust" that was too much for union members to get over.

He is referring to the excited

press release Goodyear sent out last week announcing a tentative

deal with Muni operators. Cabrera said at the time that operators were

upset he had made this announcement before union members had a chance to

look at the deal and vote.

The deal, by the way, would have saved $21 million by freezing Muni pay for three years, strengthening the disciplinary process, and giving Muni management a little more say over the entire transit organization. It was rejected 994 to 488.

SF Weekly called Goodyear this morning to ask him exactly what he did to screw this whole deal up.

"l will leave it up to media to psychoanalyze the state of mind of the typical Muni operator," Goodyear says.  "But if these union members were far-sighted and tempered in these views, I'm not sure we would have had to pass Prop. G in the first place."

Voters -- who are sick and tired of Muni operators for many, many reasons --  passed Prop. G, a major Muni reform measure, last November. Management had hoped for an easier time negotiating with union members to reach a deal this time.

Goodyear further explained the events of last week as he recalls them. The union leaders and Muni management came to a tentative agreement, and from there leaders provided the first notice to the press (he couldn't remember which media outlet). He said that Muni then found itself in a position to acknowledge the agreement publicly. So it did, and Goodyear fired off a press release of his own, explaining its highlights.

However,  Jamie Horwitz, spokesman for the union, called SF Weekly and told us that not only did Goodyear release the agreement first, but he put "inaccuracies out there" (he, also couldn't remember the exact inaccuracies).

"At the same time SFMTA is crying poverty, it's spending $100,000 on Charlie Goodyear's PR campaign and it's appalling our members," Horwitz says.  

"It's my understanding that the union leaders knew we were going to put out a press release and statement," Goodyear told us. "We were never factually incorrect, we were never asked for a correction, and we gave the union plenty of room to go out and discuss this with their members."

But like a divorced couple, the two sides will push into a room later today to have an arbitrator decide who gets what. That could take until the end of the week, Goodyear says.

"Of course we're disappointed," he says. "But I'm not surprised."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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