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California First Transit Workers in El Cajon Join Teamsters Union

(Washington, D.C.) – Drivers, mechanics and car washers with First Transit have voted overwhelmingly in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 542 in San Diego. The 167 workers in El Cajon are now looking forward to addressing their needs, including better wages, health care and a say in their workplace.

“I want to improve the lives of my coworkers. Many have kids, no sick leave and no paycheck left after paying for the health insurance,” said Eddie Duenez, a two-year driver with First Transit in El Cajon. “Teamster representation is what we’ve all been needing here.”

According to Phillip Farias, President of Local 542, the workers made the vote outcome possible by their unwavering commitment to organizing as Teamsters. Farias said the local looks forward to negotiating for what these new members deserve for their service to the community.

“This is yet another example of the extreme hard work that the International Union has put in, along with Local 542, to put the Teamsters on the move with bus and transit workers across the country,” said Jim Santangelo, President of Joint Council 42.

The workers, who provide paratransit services for San Diego County, overwhelmingly chose to join the Teamsters over the alternative options. The final vote count was 117 votes for the Teamsters; four for the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU); and four for no union. A representation election will be held on December 18, providing about a dozen reservationists at the El Cajon location with the opportunity to join their coworkers as members of Local 542.

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 to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 13,800 workers have become Teamsters.

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada.

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