Teamster leaders from local unions that represent First Student workers voted overwhelmingly to endorse the tentative National Master First Student Agreement, paving the way for members to vote on the agreement in the near future.
Ballots will be mailed to members on or about July 28 and are scheduled to be counted on or about August 18.
The National Master First Student Agreement (NMFSA) Negotiating Committee reached a tentative agreement with the company that will cover all Teamster members employed by First Student through March of 2021. Negotiations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result the committee reached a deal with the company to address as many issues as it could, given the circumstances. The committee will return to the bargaining table next year to negotiate a five-year contract that will address long-term benefits and other outstanding issues.
A few of the improvements that the union committee gained during its contract negotiations include protections against the use of audio or video equipment by management to target members for discipline or discharge, expanded protection for reduced wages in the event that a driver is re-assigned to a job with a lower rate of pay, expanded provisions for absences due to jury duty or other court appearances required by law and improved transfer rights in the event that a member changes bus yards.
Perhaps most notably, the NMFSA Negotiating Committee reached an agreement with the company to create a new job classification for non-CDL drivers, which restricts what non-CDL work can be performed and gives preferences to full CDL operators. This provision will protect members’ jobs from being outsourced to ride-share companies and provide a pathway for First Student members to attain a CDL.
“In spite of the havoc wrought by the coronavirus, we adapted quickly and reached an agreement that improves our members’ working conditions while serving as a stepping stone to a more comprehensive national contract,” said Rick Middleton, Teamsters Passenger Transportation Director and Chairman of the NMFSA Negotiating Committee. “We look forward to returning to the table next year where we will negotiate even more improvements for our members at First Student.”
When the negotiating committee and the company begin bargaining on a successor agreement next year, negotiations will cover only the articles that were not modified by this agreement.