Monday, March 19, 2012

'Hopeful contrast': Teamsters school bus campaign

Canton, Miss.
In These Times moved a nice story today about our national school bus campaign, which has organized 32,000 school bus drivers in the past six years.

Writes Bruce Vail,
Crest Hill, Ill.
The campaign marked a major milestone last month when it notched an election victory in the northern California towns of Hayward and Livermore. That vote added only 159 workers employed by Durham School Services to the union rolls, but it also represented the 300th bus driver election victory for the Teamsters over the last six years. Cumulatively, the election wins have resulted in the addition of some 32,000 new union members at Teamster locals across the country.
These numbers are impressive by themselves, but the campaign is far from over. If anything, the effort to sign up more bus drivers is picking up steam, said Kim Keller, deputy organizing director of the union. The Teamsters are confident they can organize the bulk of some 68,000 drivers employed by First Student Inc., the country’s largest single school bus operator. And there are many smaller companies, including Durham, where low wages and paltry benefits are creating a grassroots demand for union representation, Keller said.
Vail calls the school bus campaign a "hopeful contrast" with "dark tales of hostile employers, indifferent government bureaucrats and powerless workers."

San Diego, Calif.
 We like to think so.

As Lori Polesel, a First Student driver and member of Local 445, once said,
No matter where you go, workers are facing the same issues. But when we pull together, everyone is equal, so we all have a chance at a decent job with benefits.
For more information about the Teamsters "Drive Up Standards" school bus campaign, click here.