On Friday, school bus drivers and monitors at STA/Ridge Road Express who transport students for the Lockport City School District and Starpoint Central School District overcame tough opposition from management to join the Teamsters Union. The nearly 200 school bus workers voted decisively in favor of Teamsters Local 449 in Buffalo, N.Y, calling for improved working conditions and wages, respect on the job and assurances that they will be paid for all hours worked.
“We stood strong to exercise our union rights and win Teamster representation. We are looking forward to negotiating a contract that will ensure better pay, safer equipment and improved working conditions,” said Lisa Szpakowski, a 16-year driver with the Lockport School District. “We hope to win respect from management and develop a strong working relationship with the company.”
The victory in Lockport marks just the latest group of workers who have been successful in their organizing efforts at STA, the third-largest school bus operator in the country. Szpakowski and her co-workers will join hundreds of STA employees represented by the Teamsters Union nationwide.
“One of the most important parts of this campaign was educating workers of their right to assemble and free speech. Once they understood they had the right as citizens, under the protection of the Constitution and U.S. federal labor law, the momentum grew and workers united under a strong collective voice,” said George Harrigan, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 449. “This was a hard-fought campaign by an incredible group of workers. They truly care about their co-workers and look out for one another on the job. As Teamsters, they will solidify this already-strong bond at the bargaining table and win the respect all school bus workers 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, more than 46,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters. For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org.