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October 04, 2010  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

NSTA: Statement from AFL-CIO contains 'reckless characterizations'


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) recently issued a response to a statement from the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The TTD's statement contained "reckless characterizations of the industry and of private contractors," according to NSTA.

The claims made in the statement from TTD that were countered by NSTA's statement include a complaint that contractors are not covered by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and oversight. "In fact, contractors and their employees ARE covered by these agencies, and NSTA has long advocated for equal standards for all school transportation operations," NSTA's statement said.

NSTA's statement also noted that the association has worked for better emissions standards for the school bus industry and that privatizing school transportation often allows districts to convert to newer, cleaner buses.

The statement also addressed TTD's assertions about unemployment insurance benefits, criminal background checks, and special-needs transportation training for school bus drivers.

School bus contractors have been in the forefront of safety efforts in the industry in recent years. "[NSTA members] know that their employees are their most valuable resource, and that the difference between a successful school bus company and an unsuccessful one is the company’s workforce," according to NSTA.

To read the statement from TTD, click here.

To read the full statement from NSTA, click here.

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I managed school bus contract companies in CA. for many years (over 30) and I can assure you that the regulations for the contractors are as rigid or even more than the district it self. These districts were some of the largest in So. CA. and they monitored the contractors as closely as they did their in house employees.

john    |    Oct 06, 2010 12:23 PM

I guess I am confused. In the state of Kansas, there is no enforcement on school bus regulations. I have reported this all the way to NTSB. We have a monocular school bus mechanic/transportation director that is allowed to drive any day of the week. He did not have a passenger endorcement when hired and cannot pass a physical that has MONOCULAR DRIVERS ARE NOT QUALIFIED printed right on the form itself. How did he get the endorsement in the first place when he cannot pass the eye test? The school board allows him to drive without a waiver ever being voted on as far as anyone has seen in the board minutes. There is no such waiver allowed for a contractor so why would a school own fleet be less safety conscious? As far as OSHA regulations, this same mechanic/director had a bus sitting outside the bus garage for almost 2 weeks with all 6 wheels off and the only stabilization was 4 bottle type jacks. It was not in an enclosed area, anyone off the street could come in contact with it day or night. It was not even sitting level. This is the same school district that has had 3 buses totaled in 4 years with the accidents all being the fault of the bus drivers. In two instances, drivers of the other vechiles were air-lifted from the scene. In one instance, the driver of the school bus was back driving the next day without retraining or any kind of safety update. I have been told the coaches do not get safety meetings at all and the regular drivers can "make them up by taking the film home". I have talked to the school board members individually with no success. Now please tell me how to change this and who can or will do anything about it. Why does the major accident with victims have to happen before anyone does something? I would love an answer.

Lynette Russell    |    Oct 06, 2010 12:18 PM

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