Michigan First Student Drivers Choose Teamsters Union

Jun 07, 2010, 17:05 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

School Bus Drivers in Linden and Lake Fenton Unite for Better Working Conditions

WASHINGTON, June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School bus drivers with First Student in Linden and Lake Fenton, Michigan, have voted overwhelmingly in two separate elections to join Teamsters Local 332 in Flint. The combined Teamster work force is 38 drivers.

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Drivers in Linden voted 18-2 in favor of Teamster representation, while drivers in Lake Fenton voted 10-0 to join the Teamsters over their prior representative, the Michigan Education Association.

"We decided to join the Teamsters because we felt our past representative wasn't helping us and there were a lot of gray areas in our contract," said Wendy Thompson, a 12-year driver in Lake Fenton. "We're very happy about our vote."

"When First Student took over for Laidlaw, we began to lose things. I think we reached a point where, to protect ourselves and standardize the rules for different concerns coming up, we needed to organize with the Teamsters," said Vic Wasylyshyn, an 11-year driver in Linden, a First Student location that was nonunion until the vote for Teamster representation.

"This is a great victory for First Student bus drivers. I can't say enough about the joint efforts of the International Union Organizing Department, the Joint Council 43 organizers and our Local 332 organizers," said Nina Bugbee, President of Local 332. "We're excited to be part of a large organizing drive that is elevating standards for school bus workers nationally."

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 27,500 drivers, monitors, aides, mechanics and attendants have become Teamsters.

For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to: www.schoolbusworkersunited.org

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters