Some SF TWU 250A operators oppose $8 million lawsuit settlement with Muni — and want more money

Some SF TWU 250A operators oppose $8 million lawsuit settlement with Muni — and want more money
Some Muni operators are not happy with an $8 million settlement that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved earlier this month. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on January 16, 2017 1:00 am

Some Muni operators plan to dispute an $8 million settlement in a class action suit against their employers, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The amount isn’t enough, said plaintiffs Michael J. Benardo, Dorian Maxwell and Anthony Parker in a joint letter, to account for their unpaid overtime which amounts to $395 million, the amount operators initially sought when they sued the SFMTA.

The SFMTA Board of Directors voted to approve the $8 million settlement Jan. 3, in anticipation of a settlement hearing on Jan. 24 with U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

It’s at that hearing the Muni operators in opposition to the settlement plan to make themselves heard.

“The SFMTA over the years has been taking advantage of its employees and the San Francisco taxpayers by violating wage and hour standards, leaving it vulnerable to fines and lawsuits,” the operators wrote in a letter to Judge Gonzalez Rogers on Jan. 10.

“Enforcing the $395,000,000.00 judgment will send a clear message that will strongly discourage them from committing further Labor Code violations,” they wrote.

The suit, filed in United States District Court in San Francisco, may be nearing its end as an attorney representing the original plaintiffs, the Tidrick Law Firm, and the SFMTA reached a settlement agreement over the winter.

Muni operators weren’t paid for travel time between the bus yards they clocked into and the bus yards they needed to pull buses out of, or for certain post-driving inspections and other periods, alleged Darryl Stitt, the suit’s plaintiff.