Tell Mayor Walsh -Reinstate the fired USW 8751 leaders NOW!
Call in every day 3/16 – 3/20
SIGN online to send email to Mayor, City Council, BPS and Veolia
Fired Leaders Garry Murchison, Steve Kirschbaum, Andre Francois and Steve Gillis
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Sign the online petition to send emails to the mayor, school department and city council
Demand that he order his union busting School Bus bus company, Veolia/Transdev, rehire the 4 illegally fired USW 8751 leaders (Vice President Steven Gillis, Recording Secretary, Chief Steward and Civil Rights Committee Chair Andre Francois, Steward and former 3 term President Garry Murchison and USW 8751 Grievance Chair and founder Stevan Kirschbaum). The Mayor’s Vendor contract with Veolia gives the City full and sole authority to settle all grievances. HE CAN ORDER THE IMMEDIATE REINSTATEMENT WITH FULL BACK PAY TODAY! NO EXCUSES! Tell him, “IF YOU STAND FOR UNION RIGHTS, PROVE IT! Reinstate the 4 fired leaders NOW!” SAY NO TO UNION BUSTING! JUSTICE FOR UNION DRIVERS, SAFETY FOR CHILDREN!
We are writing to ask for your support and solidarity in a most critical battle against the Veolia corporation’s union busting war on USW Local 8751. It is a vital fight to protect union rights and defend the fired leaders of Boston School Bus Union, USW 8751 – Vice President and Pension Administrator Steven Gillis; Recording Secretary and Charlestown Chief Steward Andre Francois; Steward and former 3-term president Garry Murchison; and Grievance Chair and founding member Stevan Kirschbaum. Veolia, a French based global conglomerate, has a trail of union busting and corporate ruthlessness around the world. Veolia businesses include transportation, energy, environmental, water and more. In transportation alone, Veolia has waged anti-union campaigns against bus drivers from San Francisco (SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555) to Phoenix (ATU 1433); from Pensacola (ATU 1395) to Las Vegas (ATU 1637); and from Baltimore (UFCW 1994) to Denver (CWA 7777). Veolia’s standard tactics are to low bid city management contracts, then force concessions and cutbacks in clear violation of the existing union contracts. When the workers and their unions resist, they threaten, harass, discipline and fire the union leaders and activists.
Despite signing an agreement to honor all terms and conditions of the USW 8751 contract on June 18, 2013, since Veolia took over management of the Boston School Bus transportation on July 1, 2013, they blatantly and systematically violated nearly every article regarding wages, benefits and working conditions. At the same time, they repudiated the established grievance and arbitration procedures. Since July 2013, the union has filed hundreds of individual and class action grievances. In August, the Steelworkers filed 18 Unfair Labor Practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board. On October 7th the company attempted to force the drivers to fill out new hire applications. The members also knew that due to the Federal Government shutdown at the time, they had no redress available. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
On the morning of October 8th the drivers reported to work and demanded a meeting with Veolia, whose top management as well as BPS officials were on site at the bus yards, concerning the company’s total failure to honor the contract. They refused for hours; then at 11:00 am, the company locked the gates and evicted the drivers under threat of arrest for trespassing. The workers’ request for a meeting is protected concerted union activity, and the company’s lockout was not only a violation of the contract but of federal law. There never was a wild cat strike. This allegation was a cruel hoax perpetrated against the Union by Veolia, with the aid of former Mayor Menino and his School Department and the Boston media. When Boston City Council called a hearing to investigate the events of October the 8th,Veolia, the Menino’s administration and Boston Public School officials boycotted. The City Council has vowed to continue the investigation. Veolia, in a clear attack on the organizational backbone of the union, singled out the four union leaders for firing. They have been out since the first week of November 2013.
Meanwhile BPS has initiated a massive austerity cutback campaign that calls for kicking middle school students off the yellow school bus as well as reduction in union staff and services throughout the system which will not only jeopardize equal quality education but will eliminate union jobs!
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