Chicago School Bus Drivers with Teamsters Local 777 Ratify Agreement for Respect, Fair Treatment
School bus drivers represented by Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons, Ill., have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first contract agreement at Latino Express, a subcontractor for Chicago Public Schools.
The new contract marks a major victory for the 100-worker unit after more than six years of anti-union opposition by the company.
Latino Express drivers voted overwhelmingly in favor of Teamster representation in April 2011, following months of election delays initiated by the company. Despite the hard-fought organizing campaign, drivers continued to face opposition as the company attempted to deny the workers of union recognition and delay the bargaining process.
In May 2014, the NLRB ruled in favor of Local 777’s labor practice charges against the company and ordered Latino Express to bargain in good faith with the Teamsters.
“After more than six years of patience and perseverance, the hardworking men and women at Latino Express have secured a strong collective bargaining agreement that will improve wages and benefits, guarantee fair work rules and ensure strong on-the-job protections through a seniority system and effective grievance procedure,” said James T. Glimco, President of Local 777 and Trustee of Teamsters Joint Council 25.
The agreement will also provide workers strong retirement benefits, noted Glimco, covering drivers under Local 777’s retirement plan. Furthermore, the improvements to benefits will provide workers with significant out-of-pocket cost savings, additional sick days and improved vision care benefits paid in full by the employer.
“The company spent huge sums of money to keep the union out and silence workers, but these drivers stayed united and refused to be intimidated. This contract agreement shows what workers can accomplish when they work together,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, Local 777 Trustee and Business Agent. “Local 777 is proud to represent such dedicated members. I want to thank everyone on the bargaining committee, especially Pedro Salgado, Carol Garcia and Victor Velasquez.”
The Local 777 members overwhelmingly ratified the agreement and look forward to a strong working relationship with management moving forward.
“It’s been a long road, but Latino Express drivers made their voices heard. By standing together they’ve achieved a strong contract that respects the work that they do,” said Glimco.
The Teamsters Drive Up Standards campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry began in 2006. Since then, more than 46,000 North American school bus and transit workers have become Teamsters.
Teamsters Local 777 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.