(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) – Teamster school bus drivers and monitors with Durham School Services were joined by members of the British Parliament, labor and faith leaders, community members and Teamsters representatives Wednesday night at a community forum on the state of Shelby County, Tenn., student transportation.
School bus drivers and monitors who work for Durham School Services and transport children for Shelby County Schools discussed their ongoing concerns with workplace safety and service issues at Durham, the second-largest school bus company in the United States.
Ian Lavery and Jim Sheridan, visiting members of the British Parliament, took part in the forum to learn about the state of student transportation in the Memphis area. Durham is a subsidiary of National Express Group PLC (NEX: LN), a United Kingdom-based multinational transportation company.
“We find depressing the stories we are hearing from U.S. workers about a U.K.-based company’s treatment of its workers,” Sheridan said.
“We are appealing to the company to respect the workers driving the buses and the children,” Lavery said.
“I encourage parents and the community to get to know your bus driver and monitor. We’re the workers that take care of your kids,” said Wanda Alberson, a 21-year school bus driver who works for Durham in Shelby County and is a Teamsters Local 984 shop steward. “We have safety concerns and issues with how workers are treated by this company and we need to work together for change.”
“Today being Ash Wednesday, it’s appropriate that we are here together, to speak up for justice,” said Rudy Lopez, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “We want you to know that we support you and are here to listen to you. This isn’t about dollars and cents. It’s about dignity and how we treat each other.”
“This is a moral issue and it’s about workers and the children they transport,” said Jeshua Schuster of Workers Interfaith Network.
The Teamsters Drive Up Standards campaign is a global campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 38,000 North American school bus and transit workers have become Teamsters.
For more information on Drive Up Standards, 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