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Muni chief to riders after sick-out: ‘I apologize’

San Francisco’s transportation director is apologizing to Muni riders for the system-wide delays this morning and during the evening commute because of a driver sick-out.

About two-thirds of Muni vehicles and trains were not running on Monday because of drivers calling in sick to protest the proposed labor contract with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Ed Reiskin, SFMTA transportation director, said in a statement to residents and visitors:

“I apologize to San Francisco residents and visitors for the severe disruption to today’s transit service. We appreciate the patience and perseverance of our customers. We are mobilizing all resources to keep as much service moving as we can.”

Reiskin also said on the meditated proposed labor contract that the SFMTA negotiated in good faith with leadership from the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents the City’s transit operators.

The proposed labor contract would give transit operators an 11.25 percent raise over the next two years but would have to contribute 7.5 percent to their pensions.

Reiskin said he is disappointed that transit operators decided to hold a sick-out following the meditated proposed labor agreement. He said the arbitration process is already underway:

“We will do everything possible to get our people back to work, and we strongly urge our partners in the union leadership to do the same.”

Under the 2010 voter-approved Proposition G, the proposed labor contract would be decided by an arbitrator if the union rejects the proposed the contract.

SFMTA’s Chief of Staff Alicia John-Baptiste sent out a memo to all transit operators who participated in Monday’s sick-out that they will not get paid sick leave unless they have verified note from their health care provider that they were actually sick. This goes for future sick-outs as well.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said it was still unclear if service delays will continue into Tuesday. He said the transit agency is monitoring service and attendance reports but will not know anything for sure until early Tuesday morning.

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