(WRIGHT CITY, Mo.) – Drivers and monitors at Durham School Services in Wright City, Mo. have voted 32-3 to ratify their first contract as members of Teamsters Local 610.
“Congratulations to all of the drivers and monitors who worked hard to get themselves a fantastic inaugural collective bargaining agreement,” said Michael Lieser, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 610. “They stuck together and it paid off big time.”
The new collective bargaining agreement comes on the heels of a union election where the workers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters. The new agreement includes a number of significant improvements – a 15 percent wage increase over the next three years, additional paid holidays, increases in daily guarantees and even vouchers provided by the company for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The workers also got a seniority system for assigning routes, a minimum ten hour guarantee each calendar day for overnight trips (along with a food per diem), paid time for medical exams required by the company, and a number of other benefits.
Barbara Schaffrin has been a Durham driver for nine years, and her coworker Bethany Crawford has been with Durham for three years. Both served on the negotiating committee.
“The biggest things we did to succeed were listening to one another and sticking together,” Crawford said. “I’m excited that we have a solid foundation to go off of. Not only do we have written guarantees for all sorts of things from the company, we have the security of knowing that we’re not going it alone. Someone is here for us.”
Schaffrin was elated about the success of the ratification.
“We knew that we would get what we wanted if we were united,” Schaffrin said. “I’d encourage Durham workers everywhere to get involved, because you can get a lot more than what you’re getting right now if you sign up with the Teamsters and stay together. Get yourself a contract.”
The workers in Wright City joins more than 6,500 workers that are already represented by the Teamsters at Durham School Services and their parent company, National Express. Teamsters Passenger Transportation Director Rick Middleton congratulated the group on their achievement.
“Their bravery and solidarity at the negotiating table is a great example of what can be done by school bus workers throughout North America.” Middleton said. “We are committed to raising wages and standards in the school bus industry, and we know from experience that student transportation is at its best when workers’ voices are heard.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.