On October 8, hundreds of Boston Public School union bus drivers went on a surprise strike, which left nearly 33,000 kids without a ride to school.
This occurred despite the United Steelworkers Local 8751 collective bargaining agreement with Veolia Transportation, the bus company employing the union drivers, which contains a provision that prohibits the union from going on strike.
To keep face, the national USW has condemned the strike. It sent out a letter to all local members saying, “The Union does not condone the current strike or any violation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and instructs all members of Local 8751 to immediately cease any strike action against Veolia Transportation and immediately resume work.”
However, in an interview with the Boston Herald, local USW steward Gary Murchison said the union strike is a result of a “new system put into place by Veolia Transportation this year emphasizes savings over the safety of drivers and students.”
Worse, it is unknown how long the strike will persist. Yesterday, a federal judge denied Veolia Transportation’s lawsuit requesting a temporary injunction against the union. Judge George O’Toole denied the injunction because, in his eyes, union officials were doing all they could to end the strike.
Thankfully, Boston Mayor Tom Menino has promised to “use every legal avenue available to get drivers back to work and to punish those responsible for the work stoppage.”