Newest Members Looking to Improve Safety, Maintenance Standards at Bus Yard
After a nine-month organizing campaign, drivers and monitors at Durham School Services in Metropolis, Ill. voted overwhelmingly to join Local 50.
The 37 workers transport the students in Massac Unit School District Number One, which covers Metropolis and the surrounding area.
Art Long has been driving buses for over a decade, with a little over a year of service with Durham School Services in Metropolis.
“I’m very excited to become a member of the Teamsters,” Long said. “Organized labor has a long and rich history in this community, and folks around here know how important it is to be a union member.”
Drive Up Standards
“Our newest members stood up for their right to organize for fair wages, benefits and respect, despite significant pressure from their employer,” said Jason Ashmore, business agent for Local 50, which is based in Belleville, Ill.
“They all worked hard together and they should be very proud of their accomplishment. We are proud to call them fellow Teamsters,” Ashmore said.
Safety was a top concern for the group ahead of the election. Workers documented broken equipment, numerous mechanical problems and even airborne mold on the buses that went unaddressed by the company.
They made their voices heard at multiple school board meetings to publicly raise concerns about the company’s safety and maintenance standards. (For more information on the union’s campaign for safe buses, see the story on pages 24-25.)
Since launching the Drive Up Standards campaign in 2006, the union-wide effort to raise standards in the passenger transport industry has become a model for its success in organizing workers on a monumental scale.
“When this campaign began in 2006, we had just 4,000 members in the bus industry. Today, we represent 46,000 bus workers at over 400 bus yards,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
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.
For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org.