June 25, 2015
Rock Tavern, NY – The men and women who transport schoolchildren for Student Transportation of America (STA) in Middletown, have voted 56-47 to join Teamsters Local 445 in Rock Tavern. The organizing campaign was met with resistance from the company, but the drivers persevered and won a hard fought battle with STA. The workers gained not only a pay raise but also improved working conditions. There are 110 drivers in the bargaining unit.
"My co-workers and I united for the ability to negotiate a contract that guarantees accountability from STA,” said Hector Cruz, a driver with STA in Middletown. “The lack of respect from management must stop. As Teamsters, we will gain a contract to ensure that we have fairness, safety and respect throughout our workplace.”
Sue Maxwell, another driver with STA in Middletown, and one of the leaders of the organizing committee, said, ”We stayed united in the face of tough opposition from STA management. We needed our concerns addressed, and to put an end to favoritism and protect seniority."
The victory in Middletown marks a significant win for IBT's national organizing program. The Teamsters' Drive Up Standards campaign is a global initiative to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 38,600 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters.
"We're proud to welcome these workers into the Teamster family,” said Lori Polesel, Local 445 business agent. “The strength and unity they have displayed throughout their organizing campaign to gain respect in their workplace shows they will be strong union members with the ability to secure a strong contract.”