August 31, 2017
Intense Negotiations, Threat of Strike Lead to Strong Agreement with Durham
(WORCESTER, Mass.) — On Aug. 30, Teamsters Local 170 members that work as Special Education Drivers & Monitors at Durham School Services approved an agreement with the company after nine months of negotiations and the threat of a strike, which would have affected 12,000 students in the City of Worcester. The agreement, which covers approximately 130 workers, was ratified by more than a 90 percent margin.
“I’d like to thank Local 170 business agents Ken Bergen and Eli Gillen for all of their assistance, and give credit to the members who stood together for a fair contract and were ready and united to do whatever was necessary to win a favorable outcome,” said Secretary-Treasurer Shannon George. “When members stand united and support their local union’s officers and agents, they can achieve the contracts that they deserve.”
The five-year successor agreement contains significant improvements in wages, health care, and retirement, while also protecting members against unfair disciplinary action based on new technology that Durham uses. Teamster local unions across the country are coming together to coordinate their bargaining efforts in order to drive Durham to meet industry standards when it comes to safety and respect for workers.
Teamster shop steward Rose Bailey has been a school bus driver for Worcester Public Schools for 21 years. She served on the negotiating committee and was a key part of the team that successfully ratified the agreement.
“It was difficult and it was stressful, but it was all worth it in the end,” Bailey said. “You have to stick together, and you have to stand up for what you believe in. If you believe you deserve better, than you have to fight back, because the company is not going to give you a thing if they don’t have to.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.