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First Student Contract Update: Negotiations Ahead

The year 2015 is an opportunity to re-galvanize our support for one another in the school bus movement. The Teamsters are returning to renegotiate our landmark National Master Agreement at First Student. Negotiations are set to begin January 27-28 and will continue until a tentative agreement is reached and voted on by us, the membership.

As a single nationwide bargaining unit, Teamster school bus workers at First Student have more power than ever before. By standing together, as Teamsters, we can preserve and strengthen our National Agreement at First Student.

Let’s build on the successes of the past four years. Let’s keep the momentum going in 2015.


On June 1, 2011, Teamster school bus workers made history when they voted overwhelmingly to ratify the First Student National Master Agreement, a four-year contract for Teamsters employed at hundreds of First Student yards nationwide. Today, tens of thousands of Teamsters across the country are reaping the benefits and protections thanks to our National Agreement at First Student.

The National Agreement is the first of its kind in the school bus industry and a milestone in modern labor relations. It has restored dignity and safety to school bus yards and provided Teamsters with a national scope to ensure First Student treats workers fairly by providing us the rights and protections we deserve.


Scores of Teamsters school bus members came out to ratify our four-year tentative National Master Agreement in 2011, voting overwhelmingly – over 90 percent – in favor of the national contract at First Student.


BECAUSE THE MASTER MATTERS! It provides us with clear cut contract language and binding legal coverage. Not to mention, a solid structural framework that acts as a foundational baseline for future negotiations. Most importantly, our National Agreement keeps us protected by keeping management in check, requiring a national grievance procedure and standard company policies that all First Student yards must follow, meaning less disparity between yards and more fairness for us!


Local to Local, Yard to Yard

The National Agreement will serve as the structural baseline for all future improvements made by our locals. When it comes to the economics portion of our contract, each local is given the opportunity to build on the National Agreement’s foundational language to add supplemental changes later on. This means that we can continue to raise the bar in future contract negotiations!

“Best of Both Worlds”

The National Agreement molds to individual needs, which allows locals to cater to their membership. This is thanks to the “best of both worlds” clause. The clause creates a win-win situation for every Teamster working at First Student, ensuring all future gains made by the local may be securely added to any contract under the National Agreement.

Stay Involved

It takes the input of the membership to win the best possible national contract for every school bus worker at First Student. WE can make the difference in our job and how we are treated. Please join us as we begin the second chapter for our landmark national agreement at First Student.

Stay informed. Stay involved. Stay United.


The Road to Our New Contract

  • Negotiations begin on January 27. Teamsters First Student National Negotiating Committee meets with management and presents proposals to address members’ contract concerns.
  • The negotiation process continues until a tentative agreement (T.A.) is reached by the Union. Details of the T.A. are not announced until after the next step (below)
  • Two-rep meetings are held to decide whether to endorse the T.A. Leaders from Teamster local unions that represent First Student members meet to review and endorse the T.A. (Two-rep committees typically consist of two union officials from each local affected by the TA.)
  • If the two-rep meeting does not endorse the T.A., the Negotiating Committee returns to the table with First Student. Bargaining resumes until a new agreement is reached; process continues until a T.A. has been endorsed at the two-rep meeting.
  • Once endorsed, locals are informed and educated about the T.A. The education process is there to inform local officers and answer questions about any changes made to the National Agreement.
  • Membership decides whether to ratify the TA. Ballots are mailed to the home addresses of ALL Teamsters who work at First Student to vote on the Tentative Agreement
  • Ballots are counted and a decision is announced. The newly ratified National Agreement will go into effect following the decision. Locals prepare to negotiate the “economics” portion of our contract.



WE bargained employee protection language that ensures that no employee will be fired without just cause.

WE improved workplace protections and restored safety to our school buses.

WE created a national grievance procedure to address workplace issues in a fair and just manner.

WE fought – and won – paid jury duty leave and whistleblower protections.

WE are strong, united and powerful. We are Teamsters.


Negotiations begin January 27-28. Join the conversation. Ask your Local how YOU can become involved.


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