(NIAGARA FALLS, New York) – Fifty school bus monitors working for Niagara Falls Coach Lines have voted to join Teamsters Local 264. The final margin was 41-2 in favor of joining the union.
Wages were among the biggest concerns for the school bus monitors: the workers currently get minimum wage with no benefits, and after watching the drivers at their company get wage raises consistently under a Teamster contract, they decided to reach out to the local.
The campaign, which lasted a month from start to finish, was not without resistance from the company. The bus monitors had to sit in on a captive audience meeting where they were given reasons not to join the union by management – but that didn’t deter them. Organizer Darrin Ziemba conducted house visits after filing for an election, and it clearly helped to build the momentum.
Leonard Averhart is a monitor that has been with company since October. After seeing the benefits the drivers received, and hearing that over the years his coworkers had expressed interest in joining the union, he decided to get involved in the organizing drive.
“At first, we had a small committee, but we grew quickly,” Averhart said. “We kept having meetings, and as we got larger, I could see that we were getting more hopeful and excited, and we had more momentum. The struggle has made us stronger, and it made us bond more as a group.”
The enthusiasm of the membership was on display at the vote tally last Wednesday. “Many of these new members, they had to carpool, walk or take public transportation to get to the vote tally, but almost everyone found a way to personally come and find out the final result of the election,” said Ziemba, who also serves as a Business Agent and Recording Secretary for the local. “When we found out the result of the election, a lot of folks were so happy they were shedding tears of joy.”
“We’re extremely excited to welcome our newest members from Niagara Falls Coach Lines,” said Brian Dickman, President and Principle Officer of Teamsters Local 264. “They fought really hard, and we are going to make sure that we get them the best contract possible.”