Ruling Affirms Teamster Election for Florida School Bus Workers
(WASHINGTON) – School bus drivers and monitors in Santa Rosa County, Fla., who are members of Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Ala., have won a major victory in a decision handed down by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. The NLRB has ordered the certification of their election, dismissing all objections their employer, Durham School Services, filed in order to delay the certification. The workers voted overwhelmingly in February 2013 to join Teamsters Local 991.
In its May 9 ruling, the NLRB stated, “It is certified that a majority of the valid ballots have been cast for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 991, and that it is the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the employees….”
There are approximately 200 school bus workers in Milton, Pace and Navarre, Fla., who have been fighting alongside their union for recognition from Durham. They joined Teamsters Local 991 seeking improved safety and working conditions at the nation’s second-largest student transportation contractor.
“We have been Teamsters and united in our hearts all along, fighting together to win the official recognition that we deserve,” said Missy Nowling-Driggers, a Durham school bus driver and member of Teamsters Local 991.
“I commend every Teamster school bus member for the diligence they have shown throughout this process. These workers stood strong and stood their ground, while this company failed to respect their vote, and dragged them through an unnecessary process. After 14 months, this company needs to abide by the law and bargain a fair contract expeditiously and in good faith. We are going to continue to fight for these hardworking Teamsters who transport our most precious cargo—our children,” said Jim Gookins, Teamsters Local 991 Secretary-Treasurer.
The NLRB announcement comes as Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa prepares to travel with a delegation of Teamster school bus drivers and monitors to the United Kingdom, where Durham’s parent company, National Express (NEX: LN) is headquartered.
Teamsters have been fighting for National Express to improve its treatment of workers in North America. Hoffa will meet with Unite the union General-Secretary Len McCluskey, and together they will call for improved company oversight by the National Express Board of Directors at its annual meeting in Birmingham, England, on May 14.
The Teamsters Union, a group of United Kingdom local authority pension funds, and more than 100 individual investors are sponsoring a resolution calling on the Board to finally address systemic and longstanding issues with how the company treats its workers in North America.
Last month, school bus workers at Durham in Baltimore won a $1.25 million settlement with the company over unpaid wages.
The Teamsters Drive Up Standards campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry began in 2006. Since then, more than 36,500 North American school bus and transit workers have become Teamsters.