(ST. PAUL, Minn.) – School bus drivers represented by Teamsters Local 120 and Teamsters Local 638 spoke at a hearing today at the Minnesota House of Representatives about the importance of passing H.F. 988, legislation that would extend unemployment insurance (UI) to school bus workers employed by private contractors. Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t extend unemployment insurance to these workers during the summer months.
“It’s time these workers are provided unemployment benefits during the summer months,” said Teamsters Joint Council 32 President Lawrence Yoswa. “We support this statutory change to create parity with other industries.”
Local 120 Member Steve LeFerber and Local 638 Member Dawn Petersdorf were at the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division hearing where the legislation was being considered.
“Currently the annual turnover in drivers is in excess of one-third of the workforce annually,” LeFerber said. “If you have consistent drivers who keep the same routes year after year, kids remember their drivers and it’s a stable place for them. We can’t provide that with turnover as high as it is.”
Petersdorf noted that it was unfair for school bus workers to be singled out.
“Payments, bills, groceries, transportation and fuel costs do not stop during the summer; school bus drivers still have to pay for them,” Petersdorf said. “Construction workers who are laid off during the slow season are able to collect unemployment insurance, why not us?”
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.