Policy & Politics

Memorandum in Support – Certain contracts regarding bus drivers and assistants (A2781/S3474)

The Teamsters Joint Council 16, representing approximately 120,000 hardworking men and women in New York State, strongly and unequivocally supports ‘An act to amend the education law, in relation to certain contracts regarding bus drivers and bus driver’s assistants’ (A2781/S3474).

There is currently a terribly unfair practice within the private school bus industry that infringes the rights of thousands of workers within New York State by undermining their collective bargaining agreements.

Timothy Lynch, president of Teamsters Local 1205, which represents more than a thousand private School Bus company employees, states:

“Under the current system, a worker can lose his or her job at the simple request of a school district—no questions, no hearing, no presentation of evidence of any wrong-doing. A phone call from a school district and that employee becomes unemployed. This is incredibly unjust and should not continue. We’ve witnessed dozens of instances of employees losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Often it’s the result of a misunderstanding because all the facts were not looked at. Sometimes it’s because a driver won’t bend a rule at a parent’s request, and the parent complains (for example) that the driver didn’t ‘accommodate’ their child with an unauthorized stop. We’ve seen instances of drivers being deemed ‘uncooperative’ because they would not violate a traffic safety rule in order to get the run finished quicker. And we’ve seen instances of blatant lies being told about a driver or driver assistant, who is then removed by the school district. Shockingly, the employee is rarely even interviewed. And often, he or she isn’t given a reason for the removal. Under the current system, no employee is assured the right to a hearing and has no practical way of redressing his or her grievance.”

The proposed amendment to the education law would properly require that all disciplinary actions requested by any party be administered through the legal grievance procedure spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement that a private bus company has with any union. This is a basic civil right and it should not be denied anyone.

The Teamsters Joint Council 16 applauds Assembly Member Nolan and Senator Lanza and all other elected officials who, through this legislation, are working to further protect the rights of workers in New York State and defending the legal appropriateness of their collective bargaining agreements.