Troy, N.Y., unionists back Boston school bus drivers

The Troy, N.Y., Area Labor Council delegates on Nov. 20 unanimously passed the following resolution supporting Boston school bus drivers and monitors in Steelworkers Local 8751 against Veolia Transportation:

Whereas Veolia Transportation, before assuming management of Boston Public Schools’ transportation system on July 1, 2013, signed an agreement that it would honor the union’s current contract and would operate under all terms and conditions of that contract; and

Whereas the United Steelworkers Local 8751, Boston School Bus Drivers Union, since Veolia took over, have filed in excess of 75 individual and class action grievances against Veolia Transportation in violation of the school bus drivers’ contract, which represents over 35 years of collective bargaining progress in wages, benefits, working conditions and drivers’ rights while on the job; and

Whereas the Boston School Bus Drivers are hardworking women and men, and the overwhelming majority of whom are from Boston’s communities of color, and they have a decades-long and proud record of providing safe, professional, on-time service to the students and parents of Boston; and

Whereas USW Local 8751 has provided Labor Solidarity in Action for workers throughout the city, the region and in fact throughout the globe for many years; and

Whereas School Bus drivers, on October 8, 2013, engaged in a protected Unfair Labor Practices activity and asked for a meeting with Veolia Transportation to discuss the company’s failure to adhere to the collective bargaining agreement they signed on June 18, 2013; and

Whereas Veolia Transportation, in response to the protest and request for a meeting, ordered drivers and Boston City Councilor Charles C. Yancey off the property under threat of arrest for trespassing and locked the gates, thus committing an illegal lockout and leaving tens of thousands of Boston students without bus transportation on that day; and

Whereas Veolia Transportation has fired four union leaders and suspended a fifth union leader; and

Whereas Veolia Transportation gave 864 members of the union disciplinary letters of warning for protesting their unfair labor practices;

Therefore be it resolved, that the Troy Area Labor Council extends its solidarity with USW Local 8751; and

Be it further resolved, that the TALC calls for the rehiring of the fired union leaders Stevan Kirschbaum, Steve Gillis, Andre Fancois and Garry Murchison and for the rescinding of the reprimand of the fifth suspended union leader, Steward; and

Be it further resolved, that the TALC calls for the rescinding of the disciplinary letters sent to the 864 union members; and

Be it further resolved, the TALC calls for Veolia Transportation to abide by the provisions of the signed contract as they agreed to do prior to taking over management of the Boston School Transportation system on July 1, 2013.