Maine Bus Drivers Unionize with AFSCME

October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

Bus drivers for First Student of Maine

Bus drivers for First Student of Maine recently voted to form a union with AFSCME Council 93. Among them are (right to left) key activists Helen Perry, now the union’s recording secretary; Betty Bowen, secretary treasurer; and Pat Albison.

Photo Credit: Carol Markland

Fifty Augusta school transportation workers are the latest employees of First Student Inc. to choose AFSCME as their union.

The employees join nearly 400 public school bus drivers, monitors and mechanics in Indianapolis, Ind., who are also employed by First Student and recently formed a union with AFSCME. A majority of the Augusta drivers – responsible for safely transporting children from home to school and back – voted to join AFSCME Council 93, rejecting membership in another union.

“We want to create the safest environment for the kids we drive” says First Student driver Helen Perry. “Now, we will have the power to improve safety standards.”

Motivating the drivers to join AFSCME are the inadequate employee “policies” of First Student, a subsidiary of FirstGroup PLC, based in the United Kingdom. The second-largest school bus operator in North America, First Student contributes very little to their employees’ health insurance premiums, for instance.

“We deserve fair wages and affordable health care so we can take care of our families,” says First Student bus driver Larry Brann. “We’re thrilled to join other student transport workers in Maine who have won high standards in the industry with AFSCME.”

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