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Unable To Strike, Cable Car Workers In San Francisco Call In Sick

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s famed cable cars were not running Monday morning and the rest of the city’s transit system was experiencing rush-hour delays after workers called in sick, transportation officials said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was running a third of its normal morning service, spokesman Paul Rose said. The agency runs buses, light rail and street cars in addition to the cable cars.

Rose said he did not know how many of the agency’s employees called in sick, but there were rumors over the weekend that a significant number of workers would not be coming in.

“We’re doing our best to balance service throughout the city and provide service on every route and line, but at this point there will be delays,” he said.

All express buses were running local service in the morning and stopping at every stop, the agency said. The Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency was honoring tickets on city transportation all day from the Daly City and Balboa Park stations to downtown San Francisco, Rose said.

The transit system’s operators, who are represented by Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, voted Friday on a new contract that would give them a raise of more than 11 percent over two years. However, it also would require them to cover a 7.5 percent pension payment that is currently paid by the city’s transit agency, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

About 2,200 operators work for the agency. They are not allowed to go on strike but can call in sick.

San Francisco transit officials said the contract would increase operator pay to $32 an hour, making the operators the second highest paid transit workers in the country, according to the Chronicle.

Union President Eric Williams called the proposal unfair and said in a statement on the union’s website that the city had proposed “unreasonable takeaways in wages and benefits.”

Calls and emails to union officials on Monday morning were not immediately returned.

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