Our Political Action Department is making gains on a crucial bill to improve the lives of school bus drivers in Westchester. PAC's Viviana Guzman, a Monitor from Mile Square on union release, is pounding the pavement in Albany, getting more and more legislators to sign on to A.2781 - S.3474, the School Bus Grievance Process Bill. Just this week, State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Jesse Hamilton signed on, as well as Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. That makes the total 16 in the Assembly, and 8 in the Senate. This bill costs the State nothing -- but would make a big difference in the right to due process that's guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution but is often in short supply in the workplace.
Here's the issue: School Bus Drivers and Monitors working for companies that have contracts with school districts -- like Mile Square, Supertrans, White Plains, and Royal Coach -- can be suspended or struck from a company roster by a school district without any recourse. In a recent case, one driver was ordered by a teacher to park his bus in the middle of a block next to a row of double-parked cars. He said that wasn't safe (in fact, prohibited by State regs), and drove his bus further down the block to get curbside so the kids would be safe. This resulted in the teacher's calling the school district for disobeying her order, and the school district then disqualifying him as a driver in that district. The company he worked for had no problem with his conduct, but were helpless to stop the school district from imposing a penalty. So was the union -- because our contract is with the company, not the district. The bill would mandate that school districts are a party to the union contract when it comes to the imposition of discipline. This means that any drivers or monitors who get penalized would have an opportunity to dispute the sanction and get a fair hearing, up to impartial arbitration.
Please call your State legislators -- and ask them to sign on.