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Lawnside First Student Workers Vote for Teamster Representation

Lawnside First Student Workers Vote for Teamster Representation

Contact: Galen Munroe, (202) 624-6911

December 4, 2007

(Lawnside, NJ) – School bus drivers and aides at First Student’s Lawnside, New Jersey yard voted today 95-71 to secure Teamsters Local 676 in Collingswood, New Jersey as their bargaining representative. The workers joined the Teamsters seeking pay equity and better and more affordable health insurance.

The 240 workers became the fourth group in the state to join the Teamsters Union since the national campaign to organize bus drivers began two years ago. To date, the union has organized more than 850 workers at First Student in New Jersey.

"We wanted the union because we wanted pay equity and health benefits," said Frank Billings, a driver at First Student in Lawnside. "The drivers that worked directly for the school districts have a higher wage rate than ours and have good benefits. First Student just treated workers however they wanted to here. They would hire new drivers at higher rates than drivers that had been here for years. It just wasn’t fair."

The victory is part of an effort to organize private school bus drivers across the country. Driving Up Standards is a national campaign by the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Transport and General Workers’ (T&G) union to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus industry. Since 2006, more than 4,300 private school bus workers have joined the Teamsters.

"This is long overdue for these workers," said Howard Wells, President of Teamsters Local 676. "By joining our union, they will finally have a voice in the workplace and strong representation."

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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