After several months of negotiations and a month-long balloting process, the Teamsters have ratified the second national agreement with the largest private provider of school bus transportation in North America, First Student, Inc. The agreement, ratified by 89 percent of the votes cast, improves working conditions and on-the-job protections for more than 20,000 Teamsters who work at First Student nationwide.
“This national agreement is the result of the hard work and dedication of our local unions and Teamsters at First Student, and is a testament to the Union’s strong commitment to organizing workers who deserve fairness on the job,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, Chairman of the Teamsters First Student National Negotiating Committee (TFSNNC). “By banding together as Teamsters, these workers have secured a strong contract that builds upon the first historic agreement with stronger protections on the job.”
In addition to securing better workplace conditions for thousands of school bus workers, the agreement will serve as a framework for the 96 local unions across the country who represent First Student drivers to negotiate economic gains and additional improvements.
“The improvements to safety and working conditions will benefit school bus workers and their families as well as the communities in which they serve,” said Rick Middleton, TFSNNC Co-Chair and International Vice President, noting the Oct. 20 ratification vote’s timing with National School Bus Safety Week is a fitting coincidence. “The new provisions to safety could not come at a more apt time. The agreement provides strong language to raise industry standards, providing the highest levels of safety for tens of thousands of workers and students nationwide.”
The five-year national agreement will continue to uphold an effective national grievance procedure and seniority system for Teamster members at First Student. “The Teamsters Union will continue to lead the fight for school bus workers,” Middleton said. “We worked hard to negotiate a national contract with First Student representatives that improves on the historic agreement, ensuring a cooperative relationship with the company for years to come.”
The National Master First Student Agreement is the only one of its kind in the school bus industry and will run through March 31, 2020.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters 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.