(WASHINGTON) – School bus drivers and monitors with Durham School Services in Jay, Pace, Navarre and Milton, Fla., have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Ala. The 204 workers are seeking improved safety and working conditions at the nation’s second-largest provider of student transportation, operating in Santa Rosa County, Fla.
“We rose to the occasion and I’m proud of all of us for sticking up for our rights and uniting to make this company a better operator,” said Russell Troupe, a driver at the Pace yard.
“We need better safety standards for us and the kids, as well as a voice and respect,” said Diane Bence, a driver at the Navarre yard. “I’m glad we came together because as individuals we were not able to hold the company accountable.”
The workers overcame an aggressive anti-union campaign by Durham management as they worked to form their union. The drivers and monitors cited the Teamsters’ experience and expertise representing school bus workers throughout North America as reasons they chose to join the union.
“We’re ecstatic to become Teamsters,” said Kim McLaughlin, a 25-year bus driver at the Navarre yard. “It’s important for us to have equality and to be treated fairly.”
“We welcome these workers to the Teamsters. Our thanks go to the International Union and Joint Council for their hard work and for fighting on behalf of the employees at Durham,” said Jim Gookins, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 991.
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 workstandards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 35,600 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.