(San Jose, Calif.)— Durham School Services drivers voted by a margin of two-to-one to become Teamsters Friday evening. The 116 workers are uniting for respect and a voice on the job.
“Now that we’re Teamsters, we will have the ability to make positive change at Durham. We want a voice on the job, compensation that reflects our work and higher safety standards for ourselves and the children we drive,” said Ernie Bejarano, a driver with Durham since 2003. “We’ve helped make this company profitable and we’re tired of the company just taking and taking from us.”
During their organizing campaign, Durham workers held a “Speak Out,” a meeting where they brought their concerns and working conditions to the attention of the community. Dozens of workers spoke about the struggles they faced and why they chose to form their union.
“Speaking out was a very powerful experience,” Bejarano said. “It taught us that we can’t be afraid. We have to better our lives and the Teamsters are going to help us do that.”
The workers will join Local 287 in San Jose, Calif.
“We are elated to welcome these workers to our union and into the Teamster family,” said Bob Blanchet, President of Local 287. “These are hardworking people who will make a great impact on our local and we look forward to helping them secure a strong Teamster contract.”
The 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 30,900 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.