San Francisco unionists picket Veolia: ‘Hands off Boston school bus drivers’
The San Francisco School Bus Drivers union held a spirited morning picket line on Oct. 30 in solidarity with the Boston School Bus Drivers union, under attack by the Veolia corporation. Among the workers who took part in the demonstration outside the San Francisco office of Veolia Transportation were a dozen San Francisco school bus drivers and four of their union officers.
The protesters chanted: “Greedy Veolia! Hands off the Boston school bus drivers!” and “The people have spoken! Veolia’s charter must be revoked!”
Chris Finn, recording secretary of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, coming off a strike of Bay Area Rapid Transit workers, spoke at the rally. He pointed out that Thomas Hock, Veolia’s vice president for labor relations, was the union-busting chief negotiator for BART management during the recent BART contract talks. “Veolia is a union buster,” he said, “and they need to be pushed back now.” Finn expressed support for the Boston school bus drivers in their struggle to protect their contract and working conditions.
The San Francisco school bus drivers have a long history of solidarity unionism. To give just one example, years ago, during the United Farm Workers campaign to organize strawberry workers, the San Francisco school bus drivers drove 80 buses full of UFW supporters from San Francisco to Watsonville, Calif., for a mass support rally.