The school bus operators and monitors of Local 1704 at Kansas City, Mo., have obtained a first contract with First Student, Inc., the operator of school bus service for the city’s school district.
This is their first agreement under SMART Transportation Division representation and Vice President–Bus Calvin Studivant said the employees’ choice already paid off.
“Our members saw their pay raises double, and in some cases triple, compared to what they were accustomed to receiving. They now enjoy more favorable work rules and yearly increases in their charter rates. Their new rates of pay will be retroactive to July 2014,” Studivant said.
“There are also changes to their run-bids procedure, spare drivers received an additional hour on their guarantee, and to better terms were negotiated to their bereavement policy.”
“I thank Local Chairperson Jackie Pearson, Secretary & Treasurer Tonya Stokes, Local Chairpersons Mary Porter, Sharon Harris and Matthew Boyles, and Vice President–Bus Adhi Reddy for their hard work and dedication to seeing this contract through to completion.”
The operators and monitors were formerly represented by the Service Employees International Union, but voted for decertification to seek a new collective bargaining representative. They chose the SMART Transportation Division May 15, 2014.
The local represents approximately 300 drivers and monitors working for the school district.
At the time, Transportation Division Director of Organizing Rich Ross said, “This was a hard-fought campaign, but it was also a well-run campaign. We won, and we won by a large majority because we spent a lot of time out there making our case. The operators wanted representation and chose the best bang for their buck.”
Studivant, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority General Chairperson Waverly Harris (1594) and Vice Local Chairperson Brian Caldwell (1594), CSX and Norfolk Southern new-hire class instructor Justin Humphries, Local 1291 Chairperson Jacob Lane assisted in the organizing effort.
Local 759 member Sheny M. Mendez acting as an interpreter for the company’s Spanish-speaking employees.