Academy Bus Drivers in NJ Win Improvements
April 23, 2010
When bus drivers at Academy Express in New Jersey joined RWDSU Local 108 in 2004, the workers there suffered from low pay, virtually no benefits, and they had nobody to look out for them on the job. That’s all changed since they won a union voice, and the Academy bus drivers continue to make progress with the ratification of their latest contract.
The new three-year pact improves wages and protects the workers’ health care coverage while containing costs.
According to Academy employee Filberto Guzman, RWDSU membership has changed life at the bus company.
“I was there at the start, and this new contract builds upon the progress we’ve made. We never received overtime and today we get premium pay. Our wages were low, and with the new contract they are over 50 percent higher. We’ve gained personal days which we’ve never had before,” Guzman said.
But it’s not all about wages and benefits for Academy workers.
“Now, the Academy workers get a great deal of respect,” Guzman pointed out. “It’s a good feeling to know that I can call the union, and I can sit down with the union and they can help work out our problems with the Company.”
There are 350 RWDSU members working at Academy Express spread out over three units. The contracts for the three units were ratified from late last year through April, 2010.
Serving on the negotiating committees were: (Middlesex) Hector Caba, Marlluli Perera, Bobby Spivey, (Rutgers) Sheila Johnson, Tamisha English, Stuart Edinger, Steven Veltre, (Hillside/Hoboken) Ismael Alsina. Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr., and Secretary Treasurer Jorge Semidey assisted.