(CHICAGO) – More than 80 percent of First Student school bus drivers and aides have voted to approve new contracts in Glen Ellyn, Elk Grove Village and Villa Park, Ill., increasing wages and other benefits for more than 400 school bus industry workers.
The drivers and aides are members of Teamsters Local 777, which fought to secure higher starting wages for workers and give First Student employees raises across the board.
Under the new Teamster contracts in Elk Grove Village and Villa Park, starting drivers will earn $17 an hour. Starting drivers in Glen Ellyn will see wages increase to $18 an hour. Other First Student Teamsters will see overall wages improve by up to $2 per hour, while more than half of the drivers across the three bargaining units will earn no less than $20 an hour.
The top wage rate for all Teamster drivers at First Student will now be $20.50 per hour. School bus aides’ wage rates will start at $13 an hour and cap at $15.
“This is the best contract we’ve ever had,” said Local 777 First Student Steward Regina Washington. “I know the Teamsters have secured the highest wages and benefits for privatized bus drivers in Illinois right now.”
All three contracts include a union-sponsored vision plan paid for by First Student, as well as a raise in charter pay. All contracts have increased the non-revenue rate and guarantee the company will match dollar-for-dollar employee contributions to 401(k) retirement plans, up to $500 each year.
The contracts for First Student drivers and aides in Elk Grove Village and Villa Park also added Super Bowl Sunday as a paid holiday.
“Teamster drivers and aides at First Student are professional and hardworking,” said Major Rose, Local 777 Vice President. “Our members really deserve these strong contracts that honor and reward their work and their commitment to the safe transportation of our children.”