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First Student Drivers in Massachusetts Ratify Contract

School bus drivers in Wayland, Mass., have voted unanimously to ratify a four-year contract with First Student. The drivers, who voted to join Teamsters Local 170 in Worcester, Mass., in October, made a number of gains in their first contract, including wage increases, enhanced benefits and safety and job protections.

“At the end of the day, this came down to the members believing in each other, remaining steadfast and sitting down to negotiate with their employer for a great contract,” said Michael P. Hogan, Local 170 Secretary-Treasurer.

Local 170 Business Agent Shannon George noted that the 17 drivers fall under the Teamsters First Student National Master Agreement, while having negotiated a strong contract with benefits specific to their needs.

“The drivers have more holidays. Their wages are up 12 percent over four years. We increased safety and attendance bonuses, while maintaining them separately. They had no biding or seniority and they have those rights now. They have guaranteed hours. There was poor lighting where they park their buses and no hot water in the restroom, but that is now fixed,” George said.

Keri Gadsoe has worked as a driver at First Student for 10 years, and participated on the negotiating committee for this contract. Having earned the respect of her co-workers, she was recently elected shop steward.

“I’m proud to represent my lot. I want things better for everyone, not just me. This is a good, fair contract. It protects our wages and work, where before a lot of work was being subcontracted out,” Gadsoe said.