"Over the past year, the company has met continually with the union to iron out a fair economical contract that both sides could live with. Both sides have bargained in good faith and have a respectable relationship with each other. The company and the union understand that this is a new contract with several obstacles. A final proposed contract was offered to the union negotiating team on Friday. The union refused to recommend the contract, so it was withdrawn. All-Star Transportation urges the drivers to return to their job, which is servicing the students, parents and the Board of Education of the community of New Milford."Here I thought it was All-Star's job, "servicing the students, parents and the Board of Education of the community of New Milford", since they were the company that signed the contracts with the city's school system. The drivers job is to drive a bus for All Star. Anyways...
The schools were handing out flyers directing everyone in town to their website for updated information on "how and when" to drop off and pick up your kiddies at the schools.
I stopped by and talked to the drivers that are picketing out front of All-Star and asked them about the situation from their POV. Their complaints stem from the fact that they are paid about $2 per hour less than bus drivers in nearby communities. All they were asking for was a $1 raise.
All-Star has, in recent times, had a hard time keeping on drivers over the long term because as soon as they get an opportunity to work for one of the higher paying companies the drivers leave All Star. They must be wasting a lot of money on constantly training new drivers and could, likely, save quite a bit of money on that just by raising the salaries to something a little more competitive. They might even save more than the 60 cent difference between the raise they were offering the drivers and what the drivers wanted. Penny wise and pound foolish, I guess?
I transcribed a flyer that the drivers were giving out to parents at schools. I figure if the newspapers will print out the corporate side of it verbatim from their press release... Maybe someone ought to give the drivers the same benefit for the sake of "BALANCE IN THE NEWS":
We are sorry for the inconvenience this strike is causing all of our families. The purpose of this leaflet is to give you the facts concerning the current unfair labor practice strike.
- Each day, you entrust us with the safety of your children and we take this responsibility very seriously.
- We are all professional drivers who have undergone extensive safety training and possess Commercial drivers' Licenses.
- We are paid $11.40 per hour, which is $2,00 per hour less than surrounding communities.
- We receive NO FRINGE BENEFITS.
- New Milford bus drivers voted to join Teamster Local 677 in May 2006.
- For the past year we have attempted, without success, to negotiate a fair collective bargaining agreement.
- On Monday, May 7th, 2007 All Star withdrew its offer of a 3.5% wage increase, which equals 40 cents per hour.THIS STRIKE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF
ALL STAR WOULD BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH
- Most of us drivers are New Milford residents
Our Children attend New Milford schools and ride New Milford Buses.
We are New Milford taxpayers.
We deserve a fair contract.
We appreciate your support.
They also ask that you call All Star and tell them you support the drivers.
All Star Transportation can be reached at (860) 354-2705
Not only are these drivers required to get driving and safety training, but they must pass a background check through the police to get the job to begin with. A safety precaution that has been put in place in the last few years for the benefit of your children's safety.
As a side note, I did a quick check on the math (assuming the pay they make and the % raise offered is correct in this leaflet?) and the raise is really only 39.999 cents per hour raise. Can you say cheap?
Again, the video that ctblogger uploaded for our benefit:
[updtae] It appears that today the NewsTimes put up a story that is, at least, a little more than just a press release from All Star Transportation. Some might even call it news... heh
(h/t to Ghengis Conn at CLP)