Monday, December 13, 2010

New IL Teamsters sign first contract

We're just catching up on this news from Chicagoland: Last month, nearly 200 Teamster school bus workers ratified their first contract with First Student -- just six months after joining Local 777 in Brookfield.

Workers at the bargaining unit, located in S. Holland, got strong wage increases, paid holidays and better health and welfare benefits for three years.

School bus workers all over the country are raising their standard of living by joining the Teamsters. They're also winning dignity and respect. I've heard school bus workers describe how they've had to work when they're sick, how they've been punished for getting off their bus to throw up, how they've had to ask for toilet paper because the restrooms aren't stocked -- and gotten three sheets.

Over the past few years, the Teamsters have organized nearly 30,000 school bus workers. Local 777 alone has organized and negotiated contracts for 1,400 school bus workers.

For those of you who aren't familiar with first contracts, they're very hard to come by. According to Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Fifty-two percent of workers who form a union are still without a contract a year after they win an election, I found, and 37 percent remain without a contract two years after the election
Teamsters take pride in the strong contracts we negotiate. That's why John Coli, president of Teamsters Joint Council 25, said what he did when the S. Holland First Student workers ratified their contract:
more hardworking men and women are realizing the long-term strength and protection of a Teamster contract.