Providence seeks cost estimates for privatizing school bus monitors to save money on a tight budget as it puts a new contract agreement out to bid. The city’s municipal employees’ union plans to oppose any attempts to privatize the service.
News stories that attracted the most traffic on Schoolbusfleet.com covered such topics as school bus stop-arm cameras, driver union dues and a bus stop dog attack.
Voters recently passed a ballot measure increasing the minimum wage by $2 per hour by 2016. Meanwhile, a state law passed in 1989 requires school bus drivers to be paid at least twice the minimum wage, bringing their minimum pay to $19.50 per hour in 2016.
Officials say that the contract ratified by the United Auto Workers rewards the contributions of Thomas Built Buses’ workforce while improving efficiency.
About a dozen Boston Public Schools bus routes were unstaffed Monday morning, leaving 400 students stranded. The bus contractor dispatched supervisors to drive buses Tuesday morning, “due to a continued shortage of union drivers willing to work,” but was able to cover all routes. The no-shows are related to a labor dispute that led to a strike last October.
After petitioning the National Labor Relations Board and getting free legal assistance, the school bus drivers are allowed to hold a secret-ballot election to determine whether to keep Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1729 as their bargaining representative. Nearly 90% of the drivers casting ballots vote to remove the union.
The three national pupil transportation groups wrote to the Labors' International Union of North America, requesting that the union not negatively represent the yellow bus in its highway bill reauthorization campaign. But on Monday, the union launched a tour featuring a school bus that appears to have been smashed by a fallen piece of bridge.
The five drivers from an Arkansas school district have sought to refrain from union membership and dues. According to a foundation that is providing free legal assistance to the drivers, union officials denied the drivers' requests, saying that they can only resign their union membership during a 15-day "window period" in July.
Teamsters Local 174, which represents more than 450 school bus drivers in Seattle, had said it was prepared to strike since mid-February. On Saturday, the union ratifies a new contract with First Student.
After its unionized drivers voted down a new contract offer, the nearly 50-year-old school bus operator says it will close the business. “We gave the union our best offer, which was significantly better than what the new companies in the industry are providing,” Atlantic Express officials say in a statement. “Without this labor contract, we have no choice left but to proceed with the sale of all of the company’s assets and contracts.”
Being in a transportation management position can sometimes feel like being in between a rock and a hard place. However, directors who have effective working relationships with their unions say frequent communication, pitching in to build a team, and researching collective bargaining agreements help.
The school bus contractor cites a union battle, bidding issues and challenging earnings as key factors. The company will continue normal operations during the Chapter 11 process.
A group of school bus drivers in Oregon file a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board, saying that a local union demanded that they join and pay full dues or face discharge. The settlement that the drivers win includes back pay.