Missouri First Student Workers Choose Teamsters

Jan 25, 2010, 22:06 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

School Bus Drivers and Aides Stand United for Improvements in Workplace

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School bus drivers and aides for First Student in Missouri have voted to join the Teamsters Union. The workers in Cape Girardeau, Scott City, Poplar Bluff and Clarkton joined Teamsters Local 600 seeking respect, living wages and improved working conditions.

"We wanted to join the Teamsters because we feel we've been taken advantage of a lot and wanted someone to help us and fight for us," said Donna Fowler, a driver. "We're looking forward to some good changes."

"This is a great victory for these workers. I commend them and I thank the International Union organizers who worked so hard to help make this happen," said Dan McKay, President of Local 600 and Joint Council 13.

According to Dave Bruckerhoff, a business agent for Local 600, the 55 workers are geographically spread out by nearly 100 miles, but were nonetheless united and unwavering in their commitment to organizing.

"This is a hardworking group that's been terribly underpaid and who've had to deal with favoritism in their workplace. We're thrilled to be able to represent them," Bruckerhoff said.

The workers also had political and community support in their efforts to organize. Rep. Tim Meadows (D-Dist. 101), the only Teamster in the Missouri House, is also a business agent and organizer for Local 600. He has repeatedly fought off right-to-work legislation in the state.

"It's extremely hard to organize in this part of the country and by facing their employer like they did, these workers should be applauded," Meadows said.

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 24,600 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.

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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters



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