Workers ‘look forward to contract negotiations’ with STA
Student Transportation of America (STA) workers in Tewksbury voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 25, a spokesperson announced yesterday in a press release. The 45 school bus and van drivers provide student transportation for the Tewksbury School System.
“These drivers play a pivotal role in the school system and deserve fair wages with health benefits, equipment that works safely, and respect in the workplace,” said Local 25 President Tom Mari. “I look forward to working with them on a first Teamster contract, one that they can be proud of and will help them provide for their families.”
Teamsters Joint Council 10 organizers worked with the group for several months, according to the release, which characterized the victory as part of a national movement of STA workers organizing in school districts across the country to get the strong Teamster representation and benefits that they deserve.
“We are very excited to announce we’ve joined the Teamsters family as part of Local 25,” said Loretta Melanson, one of the drivers who voted to join the union. “As a small group, we felt left behind when it came to wages and benefits. Now as Teamsters, we can leverage their support and strength to get us the improvements in benefits and hourly guarantees we deserve.”
STA purchased the former Tewksbury Transit and is the sole provider of bus service for Tewksbury students; it runs operates more than 16,000 vehicles across the United States and Canada. The Carnation has reached out to STA for comment.
STA school bus drivers in other areas have also voted to unionize. In November, Jeff Hall, Florissant, Mo., Local 610 president, said that “we have more than doubled the average hourly wage for school bus workers since we started organizing this industry, which is why so many of them are joining our movement.”
That Local 610 already represented school bus workers in 11 school districts. Paula McCulley, a 35-year school bus driver, had previously been a member of the local union at a different company. She said her experience informed her decision to take an active role and sign up her coworkers to join the Teamsters at STA Florissant.
“At my old school bus yard, seniority was respected, and I was able to make as much money as I wanted because of that,” McCulley said. “We never had problems with our paychecks, we had more paid leave for bereavement and everything operated smoothly. These issues – along with wages – are what I’m looking forward to addressing when we go to bargain for our first contract.”
Founded in 1903, Teamsters Local 25 represents over 11,000 workers in a wide variety of industries throughout the Greater Boston area. For more information, go to teamsterslocal25.com.