Posts Tagged ‘Local 172’

Pa. School Bus Employees Pick Up Three-year Deal

SMART Transportation Division members employed by First Student, Inc., in Southeastern Pennsylvania have ratified a new three-year contract, retroactive to June 2014

The contract covers SMART members of Local 172 at Darby, Pa., working in school bus operations until June 30, 2017. Of the 92 votes cast, 55 were in favor of the agreement.

Members will receive a three percent wage increase across the board for each year of the contract, for a total of nine percent. Driver’s rates of pay will be paid on all charter work and on all van runs with the addition of a meal allowance for charters.

Also included in the contract is a provision increasing the number of allowable hours worked per week, up to 45. Management had previously discouraged employees from working more than 40 hours.

If during the year, an operator’s run hours are reduced by 20 percent or more, that operator will have the option to bump another driver from service whose hours exceed 40.

Also included in the contract is a provision that requires the company to immediately provide an employee with a debit card matching any payroll discrepancy of $50 or more. If a driver or monitor is displaced from a service run for any non-disciplinary reason, the driver will not suffer a loss in hourly pay.

“I thank Local 172 Vice Chairperson Denise Hall, Secretary Kathleen Sitongia and Chairperson Theresa Costantini for their dedication and hard work on this agreement,” Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant said.

Local 172 members chose the former United Transportation Union as their first collective bargaining representative approximately 10 years ago, when the property was unorganized.

Pa. school bus employees pick up three-year deal

bus2SMART Transportation Division members employed by First Student, Inc., in Southeastern Pennsylvania have ratified a new three-year contract, retroactive to June 2014.

The contract covers SMART members of Local 172 at Darby, Pa., working in school bus operations until June 30, 2017. Of the 92 votes cast, 55 were in favor of the agreement.

Members will receive a three percent wage increase across the board for each year of the contract, for a total of nine percent. Driver’s rates of pay will be paid on all charter work and on all van runs with the addition of a meal allowance for charters.

Also provided in the contract is a provision increasing the number of allowable hours worked per week, up to 45. Management had previously discouraged employees from working more than 40 hours.

If during the year, an operator’s run hours are reduced by 20 percent or more, that operator will have the option to bump another driver from service whose hours exceed 40.

Also included in the contract is a provision that requires the company to immediately provide an employee with a debit card matching any payroll discrepancy of $50 or more. If a driver or monitor is displaced from a service run for any non-disciplinary reason, the driver will not suffer a loss in hourly pay.

“I thank Local 172 Vice Chairperson Denise Hall, Secretary Kathleen Sitongia and Chairperson Theresa Costantini for their dedication and hard work on this agreement,” Bus Vice President Calvin Studivant said.

Local 172 members chose the former United Transportation Union as their first collective bargaining representative approximately 10 years ago, when the property was unorganized.

Bus Local 172 turns back Teamsters raid

UTU-represented school bus operators in Upper Darby, Pa., and members of UTU Local 172, turned back a raid by the Teamsters, voting overwhelmingly to keep the UTU as their bargaining representative on this First Student property.

The UTU’s ability to negotiate industry-leading contracts, process grievances and achieve workplace safety improvements were cited by many members as the reason they voted “UTU yes” once again. Local 172 members chose the UTU as their first bargaining representative eight years ago when the property was unorganized.

Rich Ross, the UTU’s director of organizing, credited organizer Mike Lewis and Bus Department Alternate Vice President Calvin Studivant as “a brain trust second to none in explaining the benefits of UTU representation.”

Ross also thanked International President Mike Futhey for providing the resources necessary. Since Futhey took office in January 2008, the UTU has organized 28 new properties and turned back two raids on UTU properties.

Also singled out for praise were numerous officers at Local 1594 (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), including President Waverly Harris, Vice Local Chairpersons Brian Caldwell and Curtis Fulmore, and Treasurer Cynthia Kelly-Nash, along with Local 1596 General Chairperson (Transit Management of Charlotte, N.C.) Alvy Hughes.

Local 172 officials who worked diligently to turn back the Teamsters raid were Vice Local Chairperson Denise Hall and Secretary Kathy Sitongia. Ross said that “they have developed a loyalty among members.”

Court orders FMCSA to consider UTU concerns

By Calvin Studivant
Alternate Vice President, Bus Department

In late August, a federal appeals court vacated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule requiring electronic onboard recorders.

The court said the rule does not sufficiently protect drivers from being harassed by employers to remain at the wheel when they are fatigued. The final rule was scheduled to go into effect in June 2012. A lower court, which had set aside a challenge, was told to revisit the case.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the FMCSA “needs to consider what types of harassment already exist, how frequently and to what extent harassment happens, and how an electronic device capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier will guard against (or fail to guard against) harassment.”

As a member of the FMCSA advisory committee, I previously voiced concern over this rule, and it is comforting that our concerns were recognized by the appeals court. I expect the lower court will instruct the FMCSA to revise the rule to include better driver protection.

Also of interest to our bus members, the National Labor Relations Board has instructed all carriers subject to the National Labor Relations Act to inform employees of their rights to organize and be represented by a labor union. This will certainly help in our efforts to organize the unorganized. See the separate article on this ruling elsewhere in this issue of the newspaper.

Turning to news of our bus locals, members of Local 1715, Charlotte, N.C., recognize the quality of UTU representation. In recent weeks, three members were returned to work following successful processing of their grievances.

Additionally, the UTU has prevailed in 14 grievances that put $1,000 in back pay into the wallets of each of these Local 1715 members.

We also have begun contract negotiations with the carrier on behalf of Local 1715 drivers. As part of this process, we are restoring respect lost while represented by another organization prior to the UTU representation election victory earlier this year. We are in the process of delivering improved working conditions on the Charlotte property by modifying tentative contracts agreed to by the other organization.

Local 1715 also has completed its local elections. Kevin Moss was elected general chairperson, Hasson Trent was elected vice general chairperson, and Bruce Wright was elected local president. We are very proud of these new officers and the members.

Also in negotiations is Local 172 in Darby, Pa., where Vice President Vic Baffoni is assisting at the bargaining table. 

UTU wins grievances, helps pass paid-leave law

By Vic Baffoni
Vice President, Bus

Congratulations to Local 1900 Chairperson Albert Collie and President Juan Ucanan at Parsec in Florida on their success in winning four of five grievances.

Kudos also go to Local 172 Chairperson Theresa Costantini and Trustee Kathleen Sitongia at Delco Transportation in Pennsylvania. They successfully resolved contract grievances resulting in reinstatement of a member and assurances for others of pay for lost work.

A special commendation goes to the New Jersey State Legislative Board and State Legislative Director Dan O’Connell for their efforts in helping to gain passage of legislation — signed by Gov. Jon Corzine — providing up to six weeks of paid family leave. They worked with the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and many community organizations to secure the legislation after 13 years of previously unsuccessful efforts.

Because of continued strong employer opposition, a compromise was required to gain legislative passage of the new law. Thus, the worker requesting family leave first must use two weeks of vacation or sick leave. This benefit will be paid out of New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Income Fund, with employees paying $33 annually to ensure the coverage.

The New Jersey Legislative Board unsuccessfully sought to gain coverage for rail workers in the state, but because they do not pay into the disability income fund, they were not included in coverage. The new benefit will commence July 1, 2009.

Our Organizing Department is in contact with bus operators and mechanics on numerous properties around the nation who have shown interest in representation by the UTU. If you know of unorganized workers seeking representation, please let me know, or call our Organizing Department at (216) 228-9400.