Historic Agreement Secures Safety, Job Protections for School Bus Workers
(WASHINGTON) – Teamsters Local 777 and Teamsters Local 179 members in Illinois have overwhelmingly approved the first-ever master agreement with Illinois Central School Bus, the fifth-largest provider of school bus transportation in the United States.
The historic agreement improves working conditions and secures job protections for more than 600 Teamsters who work at Illinois Central, and will cover any future Illinois Central workers who join the Teamsters. The contract was ratified by a 3 to 1 margin.
The five-year agreement includes 48 articles securing workplace protections and improvements and providing strong language to raise standards for Teamsters at Illinois Central. The master agreement includes the right of drivers to refuse to drive an unsafe bus, an important step in ensuring the safety of schoolchildren and communities throughout Illinois.
Economic terms and additional workplace improvements will be negotiated in supplemental agreements with each individual Illinois Central location.
Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons, Ill., and Local 179 in Joliet, Ill., represent more than 1,000 Illinois Central workers. Since April 2012, more than 673 Illinois Central workers at seven Illinois Central school bus yards have joined the Teamsters.
Tom White, a six-year driver who works at Illinois Central’s Mount Prospect location, recently became a shop steward and is happy to have a strong Teamster contract.
“I feel great about our contract. It’s a huge first step in an industry that needs unions. We will have a process and transparency. Seniority will have to be honored. We’ve made progress,” said White, a member of the negotiating committee.
“This master agreement, along with the First Student master agreement, creates a high standard for safety and other protections that the rest of the industry will have to follow,” said Jim Glimco, President of Local 777.
“We are pleased to have negotiated a master contract that values these hardworking Teamster school bus workers,” said Tom Flynn, President of Local 179. “Our members also recently ratified individual contracts at three Illinois Central locations, with wage increases and protections that supplement the impressive gains made in the master agreement.”
“Congratulations to Illinois Central workers for ratifying a strong agreement that will improve their lives and raise the bar for student transportation service in Illinois. I am proud of the work of Local 777, Local 179, Joint Council 25 and the International Union in continuing to drive up standards in the school bus industry,” said John T. Coli, International Vice President and President of Joint Council 25.
Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 35,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, go to www.driveupstandards.org.