Thursday, May 9, 2013

London Calling

Teamsters are in London today standing up for the rights of school bus drivers. The members are at the company’s annual meeting  calling on National Express Group, a large multinational corporation, to honor and respect the rights of their North American workers. From the release:

The Teamster delegation traveled to the United Kingdom over serious concerns about the negative workers’ rights and labor relations record at the company’s North American subsidiaries, Durham School Services in the U.S. (“Durham”) and Stock Transportation in Canada. They were joined by colleagues from Unite the Union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association.

 The Teamsters have been fighting on behalf of school bus drivers for several years now. In fact, the union’s Drive Up Standards campaign has organized more than 35,000 North American school bus and transit workers. Here’s what a couple of the Teamster drivers said about why they’re in London calling for fair treatment:

“I believe Durham shows disrespect and disregard for the drivers and monitors. Our job is to safely transport children to school, but we face poor conditions with some of the school buses we operate. I feel like my concerns are not listened to at all, which is why I came here today, to be heard,” said Latrisha Pringle, a 25-year school bus driver who works for Durham in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A., and is a member of Teamsters Local 509 in West Columbia, S.C.

“It’s important that people realize that the problems we face in my bus yard in Navarre, Florida, are not just isolated incidences. I believe there is a pattern to the way Durham is treating people. We are here today because National Express’s subsidiaries cannot continue to behave this way in North America,” said Diane Bence, a Durham driver and member of Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A. “In Florida, we voted overwhelmingly to form our union in February, and even though Durham said it would honor the election result, it has not done so and has appealed the results from the National Labor Relations Board secret ballot election.”

So what, exactly, are the Teamsters doing there?

A number of key stakeholders are calling on the National Express Board of Directors to improve the global oversight of the company’s human resource policies and practices.

Unite the Union’s OSSF and UASPS funds; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Fund; and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) are recommending National Express shareholders vote NO to Resolution 1 on the Director’s Annual Reports and Accounts. PIRC, a leading U.K.-based proxy voting advisor is also recommending to its clients a vote against Resolution 1.

The action is being taken to send a strong signal for the need for improved Board oversight and reporting to shareholders of the company’s global human resource policies and practices.

For more information, visit the campaign’s page here.