Unions Halt Tech Buses

The ubiquitous white buses that ferry San Francisco's white collar tech workers travel through a union town. This was evident last week when the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — derided by left-leaning locals for allowing tech buses to use Muni's overtaxed public bus stops for a paltry $3.55 fee — denied one tech bus company a permit to continue operating.

Bauer's Intelligent Transportation, known for black minibuses that predate the behemoths used by Apple, Google, and Facebook workers, was dinged by the SFTMA for sending buses down the wrong streets and for making stops in the wrong areas. But its real sin was playing games with organized labor.

The Teamsters, which have organized other tech bus workers, are trying to bring Bauer's into the fold. The company and the union are locked in a back-and-forth — Bauer's formed a sham company union, since disbanded; Bauer's workers then rejected joining the Teamsters in an election the union says the company rigged. This denial is the latest salvo.

Bauer's says the denial is politically driven comeuppance for defying the union. And they may be right: Elected officials are also pressuring the SFMTA to deny Bauer's a permit until the labor dispute is settled. At least in some circles, blue-collar still beats tech-collar in San Francisco.

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