(CUBA, N.Y.) — First Transit workers in upstate New York have voted overwhelmingly, 30-5, to join Teamsters Local 264 in Cheektowaga, N.Y., seeking a voice on the job and improved working conditions. The drivers and mechanics provide transit and paratransit services in Cuba, Wellsville, Steamburg and Irving, N.Y.
Tina Smith, a First Transit shuttle driver who helped lead the organizing effort, said the workers stood strong and united during their campaign to win Teamsters representation.
“We are happy about our vote for the Teamsters. We need representation and a voice,” Smith said. ”Now that we have union representation, we can ensure there is equal pay for equal work.”
Smith noted that First Transit workers reached out to Local 264 to address the lack of seniority and unfair incentives for new drivers due to a shortage of drivers. In some cases, the recruiting process allowed for newly-hired drivers to earn higher wages and more vacation time than many longtime employees.
“We welcome these hardworking drivers and mechanics into our family,” said Brian Dickman, President of Local 264. “Now we will move toward negotiating a strong Teamster contract that will secure the wages and protections that they and all workers across the country need and deserve.”
The Teamsters’ Drive Up Standards campaign is a global campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the privatized school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, nearly 40,000 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 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 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.