350 Student Transportation Of America Bus Drivers, Monitors & Aides ‘Go Union’ In Western New York - Vote For Representation With Teamsters Local 449
(NIAGARA COUNTY, NEW YORK) – As many as 350 Bus Drivers, Monitors and Aides who are employed by Student Transportation of America (STA) in Niagara County have Gone Union, voting for Union Representation with Teamsters Local 449.
The STA Employees recently Unionized in the Niagara County Roy-Hart School District, which serves Lockport, Newfane and Starpoint students.
“We started the (Organizing Drive) in January (2019) and now, we’re in the midst of negotiating their first contract. We were ‘always sending a message,’ talking to them. People don’t understand ‘how difficult’ it is to form a Union in their workplace,” Local 449 Secretary-Treasurer George Harrigan tells WNYLaborToday.com.
Teamsters Local 449 also represents First Student School Bus Transportation Workers in Buffalo and the Tonawandas.
“We ‘wanted to build a relationship’ (between the Union and the Workers). The (STA Employees) ‘saw what the Teamsters had done for other Unionized STA Workers and they wanted to form their own Union.’ They were looking at those Workers’ contracts ‘and they could see that they were working for less wages and benefits’ (than their counterparts). The Teamsters have ‘set the standard’ for School Bus Drivers in the Private Sector,” he said.
Union Officials also said the STA Workers “wanted better workplace conditions,” as well as wanting to “root out favoritism.”
“And, they ‘wanted equal rights for everyone,’” Harrigan told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper.
“I voted ‘yes’ because ‘I know a Union can give us the chance to negotiate for higher wages, more days off and better working conditions – most importantly, in writing,’” K. Charles Branch, a Bus Driver employed at STA.
“I support the Teamsters ‘because I’m tired of favoritism,’” said Lanesia Scalise, another Bus Driver employed at STA. “We ‘also should be paid more for the responsibility we have.’”
The Teamsters are continuing to speak with other STA Workers employed in Niagara County who are also interested in Unionizing, but those Workers are “being discouraged by the employer who is giving them more money,” Harrigan said.
However, the Union Message is not being lost on those Workers, he added: “The Teamsters have ‘set the standard’ for what School Bus Drivers ‘receive’ in Western New York, with the hourly rate ‘as much as ($22).’ (Without a Union Contract) they make ‘part-time’ wages.”
Teamsters Local 449 represents a total of 3,300 Members throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Areas who are employed in a number of industries - from the United Parcel Service (UPS) to Freight Transportation.