The following edited statement was issued Oct. 8, the first day of a wildcat strike by the Boston school bus drivers. Go to workers.org for updates.
Stand with the 800+ mainly Haitian Boston school bus drivers and for the safety of Boston’s school children against the union busting and greed of the Veolia corporation and the threats and intimidation of the Mayor and School Department.
This morning Boston awoke to the power of the Steelworkers Local 8751 workers, who said “enough is enough” in response to the union busting and racist plantation-style treatment they have received ever since the administration of Boston’s School Bus contract was taken over by Veolia. This huge multi-billion dollar transnational corporation, headquartered in France, is also cornering the world’s water supply and operates “settlers only” bus transportation and a “settlers only” landfill in the West Bank.
The drivers are fighting to preserve the gains and union rights they have won over decades of militant, unwavering union struggle. The contract that Veolia has with the city says they must honor the existing contract with the union. Yet it took a major militant march and rally at the company’s offices in June to get them to sign a agreement that they would honor the contract. This has only been followed by endless violations, leading to the union filing 15 counts of unfair labor practices with the NLRB.
Our Boston school bus drivers carry the city’s most precious cargo — our children. It is time for Veolia, the School Department and Mayor Menino to treat them with respect!