As a result of a major election victory today, more than 1,700 school bus workers employed at the Baumann transportation companies on Long Island will become members of Teamsters Local 1205, headquartered in Farmingdale, New York. The workers voted 906-644 in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
The drivers, driver assistants and mechanics employed by Baumann & Sons Bus, Alert Coach, Acme Bus and Brookset Bus work at nine locations throughout Long Island. They prevailed in gaining Teamster representation by standing strong against an aggressive anti-union campaign waged by the private company. The workers are now looking forward to negotiating a Teamster contract that will improve their working conditions, including gaining fair pay, affordable and decent health care and respect on the job.
“These workers stood up for what is right and came together to fight for justice and dignity. They are an example of what workers can do when they stick together and we’re honored to represent them,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
“This is great! The owners spent a lot of money trying to have us not vote for the union—that’s a fact. For corporate America, we workers don’t matter—it’s all about the bottom line. But now, with our having union representation, the owners have to listen to our concerns!” said Doug Rogers, a driver at the Northport yard.
There's been so much harassment and no respect. The company tries to punish you whenever you question what they do. I thank God we won! I'm crying, I'm so happy. Power is now is our hands! “ said Maria Romero, a driver’s assistant.
"I told that union buster he was wasting his time. I said, 'If you were trapped in a coal mine for 15 years and you saw light at the end of the tunnel, wouldn't you go for it? Well, that's what the workers here feel.' And we went for the light—Teamsters Local 1205—and we won!" said Julie Assabi, a driver in Bohemia.
“These hardworking Long Islanders showed great courage in the face of illegal threats, bully tactics, and massive lies put forward by their employer, as Baumann tried to scare them away from voting for their best interest,” said Timothy Lynch, President of Local 1205. “Now, with the workers’ growing unity and sense of the economic justice they deserve as human beings, I have no doubt that together we’ll be able to negotiate a union contract that will greatly improve their lives.”
The Baumann workers had the support of a broad range of prominent political, community and faith leaders in their efforts to join Teamsters Local 1205, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Rep.Tim Bishop (D-NY), and New York Governor David Paterson. The Baumann Monitoring Commission, a volunteer commission made up of community leaders throughout Long Island, stood up for the workers’ right to organize free of interference and intimidation from their employer, whose anti-union campaign included high-priced “union avoidance consultants.” More than 40 prominent political and community leaders also signed an “Appeal for Justice” to Baumann, urging the company to respect the workers’ right to organize.
This victory is the latest in an effort to organize private school bus and transit workers across the country. Drive Up Standards is a national campaign by the Teamsters to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 23,900 drivers, monitors, aides, mechanics and attendants have become Teamsters.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.