March 7, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Yonkers, NY—School bus drivers working for Miles Square School Bus and represented by TWU Local 100 rallied outside the bus depot to protest non-working bathrooms at the facility, an expired labor contract and being compelled by management to drive unsafe school buses. Video
Angel Giboyeaux, Local 100 administrative vice president, said drivers and mechanics complained about chronic conditions plaguing the facility.
“We investigated and found unheated driver rooms, unheated and unsanitary restrooms, shuttered exit doors and non-working fire extinguishers,” said Giboyeaux.
He noted two months after the union informed Miles Square management of the problems they still haven’t been resolved.
“After our requests were ignored, we were forced to turn to [OSHA] as well as the Yonkers Fire Department.”
The drivers also raised concerns about safety inspections of buses and vans. Giboyeaux said the union informed drivers to perform vehicle inspections before leaving and if any defections were found they couldn’t drive the buses unless they were repaired.
The drivers also expressed frustration over the lack of a new contract. In an interview, Giboyeaux said the drivers have been working without a contract for five years.
“We offered a contract proposal, but the owner hasn’t even offered us a counterproposal. We’re still waiting for one.”
The union is hoping to have a negotiating session next week, but apparently the owner, Harry Rodriquez, is refusing to bargain.
One of the contract provisions the union is seeking with Miles Square is wage parity with other Yonkers-based companies such as Royal Coach Lines.
According to Frank McCann, Local 100’s Organizing Director, bus drivers with Royal Coach Lines are earning over $3 an hour more than Miles Square drivers.
“We’re trying to bring the Miles drivers up to the industry average because they’re doing the same work for less money,” McCann said.
Winston McLean, a Miles Square driver for 8 years, said things are pretty bad when 200 workers have to share one working bathroom.
“It’s horrible. I was told by my supervisor if the bathroom is occupied to go down the block to the BP gas station, which is a private bathroom,” McLean said.
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