Organizing RoundUp

Local 449

Student Transportation of America

School bus drivers and monitors working for Student Transportation of America (STA) voted to join Local 449. The 59 workers transport students for the Newfane Central School District.

“These workers were very motivated,” said George Harrigan, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 449, based in Buffalo, N.Y. “They are working together for a chance to improve their jobs, just like our members who organized at STA Lockport last year.”

Dick Eberhart, a driver at STA Newfane, was a union member for 35 years and knows what it means to have a strong union on your side.

“I was a proud UAW member for 35 years; I can’t wait to become a proud Teamster,” Eberhart said.

Local 174


Nearly 150 aircraft fuelers, dispatchers and mechanics employed by Swissport finally received word that they were successful in their effort to join Local 174. The mostly immigrant workgroup is based at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and is responsible for fueling all commercial aircraft departing from that airport.

“These individuals perform technically difficult work that has a direct impact on public safety, yet Swissport pays them minimum wage without benefits. Turnover is sky high as a result,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks.

The election victory comes after a difficult organizing campaign spearheaded by Local 174 Director of Organizing Meaza Ogbe.

“We faced numerous challenges, especially language and cultural barriers, but those were ultimately overcome by speaking a language we can all understand: the language of respect,” said Ogbe.

Local 572

Durham School Services

School bus drivers, monitors and mechanics who work at Durham School Services in Carson, Calif. voted by a 2-1 margin to join Local 572. The workers will join more than 500 Durham School Services employees already represented by a Teamster contract.

“Congratulations to our newest members in Southern California, who were united in the face of a nasty anti-union campaign on behalf of the company,” said Teamsters Passenger Transportation Division Director and Local 572 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Middleton.

Workers reported many concerns about their working conditions. These included bus safety, favoritism and a lack of a seniority-based system for route assignments and wages, as well as no paid holidays.

Local 170

First Student

Workers with First Student have overwhelmingly decided to join Local 170 in a vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome these professional bus drivers to the Teamster family,” said Shannon George, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 170 in Worcester, Mass. “These men and women chose a challenging career driving our most precious cargo to and from school; they are the first face our children see going to school and the last face they see leaving school.”

Local 170 Organizer Shawn Stevens spent many days speaking with and addressing the needs and concerns of these 29 new Teamsters.

Local 653

North River Collaborative

After a three-year fight for representation, drivers and monitors with Massachusetts’s North River Collaborative have officially gained recognition as members of Teamsters Local 653 in South Easton, Mass. The 108 workers transport students with special needs and are based in Abington and Rockland.

“We decided to organize because we need job security, seniority and the backing of a union, and that’s why we contacted Teamsters Local 653,” said Jim Swanton, a 10-year driver for North River Collaborative. “It’s been a pleasure working with the Teamsters organization and we’re ecstatic about joining the union.”

Workers for North River Collaborative said that some of the other reasons for their desire to form a union were wages, benefits, and safety concerns.

“We already represent school bus drivers at many of these locations,” said Local 653 Secretary-Treasurer Brian McElhinney. “What the van drivers and monitors at non-union companies are learning from speaking to the bus drivers we already represent is that Teamster membership provides incredible benefits to workers in this industry.”