Tangling With Muni Union Helped Make Mayor Frank Jordan Into Ex-Mayor Jordan

As many folks steaming on Muni know, the drivers' union last week spurned concessions that would have saved the city some $15 million — while accepting city charter-mandated raises for $8 million — even as the moribund system contemplates hacking service and raising fares.

If ever there were a moment for angry passengers, politicians, and others to start passing out the pitchforks and torches, this would seem to be it. Well, don't hold your breath. Pushing a Muni boycott to a transit-dependent ridership one scant week before the end of the month — in the rain — seems like a surefire loser. And while Supervisor Sean Elsbernd isn't backing down from his Charter Amendment assailing drivers' pay, taking on Muni and other unions has converted a number of San Francisco politicians into ex-politicians.

Take former Mayor Frank Jordan. He made fighting Muni's arcane work rules a key issue. Now he has much more time to work on his golf swing.

“I found out from personal experience — when they have something , they never want to give it up,” he said of his battles with the Transit Workers Union in the mid-1990s. “I had eight or nine work rules I wanted to change. I could not get even one.”

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