DeKalb First Student Workers to Strike Company for Unfair Labor Practices

First Student Company Representatives Walk Out of Negotiations, Arbitrarily Implement Changes

Nov 15, 2009, 20:29 ET from Teamsters Local 330

ELGIN, Ill., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School bus workers at the DeKalb, Illinois First Student yard will go out on strike the morning of Monday, November 16. The workers overwhelmingly voted down a company offer on Friday, November 13. Teamsters Local 330 in Elgin, Illinois, represents the 95 drivers and monitors and has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

Negotiations have been tense since company representatives refused to bargain at the last federally-mediated negotiating session and arbitrarily implemented their last offer.

"We have been in negotiations with First Student on behalf of these workers since March, and we simply want a fair and equitable agreement," said Dominic Romanzzi, President of Teamsters Local 330. "Refusing to submit a counterproposal in writing and walking out on a federally-mediated bargaining session shows that the company has no intention of bargaining in good faith."

The DeKalb First Student workers overwhelmingly voted down a proposal from the company in early October, and authorized the local to call strike action. As a show of good faith, the union returned to the table shortly following the rejection of the first offer, agreed to the addition of a federal mediator to negotiations and submitted a counteroffer to First Student. Following their review of the Teamsters' counteroffer, the company declared that negotiations were at an impasse and walked out.

"The company's actions are at best irresponsible and unprofessional," Romanzzi said. "Our negotiating committee has made every effort to be responsive and entered into these talks with an open mind. Our workers are on strike today because of the company's unfair actions. These professional drivers deserve respect for performing an invaluable service to the community.

"We care about these kids and do an important job for this community," said Leah Henderson, an eight-year driver at DeKalb First Student. "We deserve to be treated with respect and to get a fair shake from this company."

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Teamsters Local 330