E2010 Wired

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Ledyard School Bus Drivers Unite

For Immediate Release | September 29, 2010

SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS RESPONSIBLE FOR “LEDYARD’S MOST PRECIOUS ASSETS” UNITE FOR A VOICE ON THE JOB | Employees of district transportation services contractor vote “Union Yes” to make economic improvements, assure safe and reliable services for local students and families

LEDYARD—School bus drivers who provide Ledyard’s pupil transit needs voted yesterday to drive up workplace and service standards by joining CSEA/SEIU Local 2001. The union election will empower 38 local employees of Student Transportation of America (STA), the company contracted to provide services for the district’s six schools, to negotiate their conditions of employment for the first time. In addition to addressing economic insecurities, the vote paves the way for Ledyard Public Schools’ bus drivers to lead for quality, reliable services and the highest standards of student safety.

“For us, voting ‘union yes’ meant fair treatment and decent wages for bus drivers,” said Peg Welles, a member of the organizing committee that coordinated the drive to unite her co-workers. “After all, we are responsible for the safe transport of Ledyard’s most precious assets. But for years, many of us haven’t been paid wages that reflect the value of the work that we do,” said Welles, who has four years of experience with STA as a school bus driver.

Despite healthy corporate profits, private student transportation contractors whose employees lack a voice on the job are often unable to maintain a consistent, stable workforce. Companies like STA face further difficulty attracting qualified school bus drivers to facilities where there is no labor representation when their employees in surrounding communities have seen the union difference in higher wages, better benefits, and job security. STA is also the contractor for New London Public Schools, and their bus drivers, monitors, and safety aides have been members of CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 since 1998.

“This was also about the kids we drive to and from school each and every day,” said Crystal Ladd, a bus driver with eight years of experience behind the wheel. “A union voice isn’t just good for us. It’s good for Ledyard, because if we feel better about the job we do, we’ll do a better job,” said Ladd, who also served on the organizing committee.

School bus drivers united in CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 in local communities across Connecticut are in a better position to hold private contractors like STA accountable to safety and reliability standards. The unique experience of school bus workers puts them in a position to act as watchdogs when for-profit companies attempt to save costs by cutting corners in critical areas like equipment maintenance, driver training, and regulatory compliance.

CSEA/SEIU Local 2001’s nearly 25,000 members are retired and active public sector workers in state, municipal, and local schools’ agencies across Connecticut, as well as workers employed by non-profit organizations and private companies contracted to provide public services. Visit www.seiu2001.org online for more information about the union’s efforts to “Drive Up Standards” in the student transportation industry.

Contact: Matt O’Connor, CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 – (860) 221-5696 (cell)

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