School Bus Drivers: ‘No Reopening Without Safety First!’
Above photo: Left to right, USW Local 8751 Chief Steward Frantz Cadet, Trustee Fred Floreal, and President Andre François at May 14 action in conjunction with Haitian Flag Day. The union protested recent unjust firings of their members and demanded enforcement of Local 8751’s COVID-19 Emergency Standard Operating Procedures. usw8751.org.
On July 29, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union, United Steelworkers Local 8751 issued the statement below, which President Andre François read on the August 6 Workers World Party webinar.
Boston school bus drivers say, “No school reopening without Union-planned and -designed health and safety procedures!”
Teachers, nurses, bus drivers and monitors, custodians, paraprofessionals, food workers demand a seat at the planning table, now!
First step: Nurses in every school, bus yard, and food and nutrition facility to ensure frontline Emergency COVID-19 Worksite Standard Operating Procedures.
Transdev: Stop the fraud! Hire professional bus and facility disinfecting companies, now!
Transdev/Boston Public Schools: Hire more bus drivers and monitors! Impact bargaining for full hazard pay and benefits for all school workers, now!
For weeks in February and early March 2020, United Steelworkers Local 8751 published demands to our private employer, Veolia/Transdev, and to Boston Public Schools to professionally disinfect our bus yards and buses, to institute emergency Health and Safety Protocols, such as providing masks and other personal protective equipment, temperature screening, strict outdoor physical distancing, touchless restroom facilities, etc.
As the pandemic spread worldwide, our employer and responsible parties failed to act, and in April, Local 8751 suffered deaths by COVID-19 of four drivers who were active in the city’s food home-delivery program to thousands of BPS children.
Only the union’s forceful onsite intervention and job actions to enforce Emergency COVID-19 Worksite Standard Operating Procedures stopped infections among our members until Transdev dumped us all onto the unemployment line in late June.
Local 8751 pledges to our members and the children, families and communities we serve: Not One More Death!
Local 8751 applauds the Boston Teachers Union’s frontline, essential, and in our opinion, nonnegotiable demand for union nurses in every school. As the school bus is first daily contact with tens of thousands of Boston’s most precious cargo, Local 8751 also demands BTU nurses be stationed at the bus yards to assist Local 8751 with ensuring and enforcing Emergency COVID-19 Procedures.
Local 8751 raises 1,000 fists of solidarity with the American Federation of Teachers’ July 28 powerful commitment and warning to federal, state and local governments that “safety strikes” will be the result if the workers’ health and safety demands remain unmet. No reopening without safety first!