(Washington, D.C.) – First Student school bus drivers and monitors in House Springs, Missouri, have voted to join Teamsters Local 610 in Maryland Heights. The bargaining unit consists of 140 workers, who will now have the opportunity to collectively bargain for improvements that they are seeking, including better wages, health care, safety, fairness on the job, a grievance procedure and more.
“I was confident going into the vote that we were going to have our union,” said Ginger Counts, a two-year driver. “For me, the unfairness and safety conditions were two big issues, for others it was also the wages and insurance.”
Counts’s mother and sister-in-law both work at a nearby First Student yard where they are represented by Local 610. Their superior working conditions led Counts to make the initial call to Local 610 to find out about becoming Teamsters.
According to Jeremy Baltazar, a Teamster organizer, the organizing committee of workers consisted of several dozen members, who met every week, mobilized their coworkers and worked hard to gain Teamster membership.
“They were extremely committed and really wanted this,” Baltazar said. “It took them less than two months to get this accomplished.”
“We’re excited to welcome these dedicated workers to our union and to have them as our members,” said Richard Piglowski, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 610.
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.