WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School bus drivers and monitors with Illinois Central School Bus in Waukegan, Ill., have voted to join Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons, Ill., standing strong throughout a hard-fought campaign for respect and justice from the employer. There are 220 workers in the bargaining unit.
"We are excited and very happy that we now have the opportunity to make things better here with our union. We needed this," said Roberto Rodriguez, a driver who has worked at the facility since 1982.
"We need better treatment of drivers and monitors and a better relationship with the company. I'm just glad that with the help of the Teamsters and the employees we were able to pull together and unite for a new beginning at Illinois Central," said Rodrick Booker, a driver.
The Waukegan workers had voted in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election in May 2012 at the same time as four other Illinois Central locations. The four locations, which included 264 workers, all voted in favor of Teamster representation. The Waukegan workers lost their election by a vote of 86-90.
Teamsters Local 777 filed more than 20 unfair labor practice charges and seven objections to the election. The NLRB found merit in the charges and advised the company that they would pursue a bargaining order. The company came to a settlement agreement to reinstate two workers who had been fired during the campaign—Roberto Rodriguez and Rodrick Booker—with full back pay, compensate seven other workers with back pay owed to them and have a re-run election.
In the lead up to the re-run election, Teamsters Local 777 was forced to file unfair labor practice charges against the company for its continued anti-union conduct.
Despite this anti-worker conduct, the workers were undeterred and stuck together, voting in favor of Teamster representation.
"It was a very contentious campaign, with a lot of bad behavior on the company's part. The real heroes are the drivers and monitors who stood strong against this company that tried every trick in the book," said Jim Glimco, President of Local 777.
"We are proud of the workers in Waukegan who exhibited the true Teamster spirit. They stood up to this employer's bad conduct and stood together for respect and fairness. We welcome them to the Teamster family," said John T. Coli, International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 25.
The victory is the latest in an effort to organize private school bus and transit workers across the country. Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 34,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union 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.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters