History of the Local
In 1989, a group of bus drivers banded together to represent the needs of workers of Cobb County School District and became known as the Cobb County School Bus Drivers Association. They recognized that the Employer always had the interest of the certified employees on the top of the priority list, and not us. In 1992, the drivers began to hear rumors of privatization and all knew that they could not fight this battle alone and they began a search for a strong organization to affiliate with.
A retiree of Local 225 Branch 4 in South Jersey was now working as a Cobb County School Bus Operator and he suggested calling his former union, the TWU. While we sought many groups, nonsurpassed the ideology of the Transport Workers Union of America. Their objectives were the same as ours: To Unite All Workers, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, nationality and to promote legislation to safeguard our economic security and social welfare, and to protect our civil rights and liberties.
In July of 1993, we met with a TWU Int’l. Rep. and Organizer, Michael O’Brien, who is currently our International President of the Transport Workers Union of America. The membership liked what they heard at a mass membership meeting and 400 drivers voted unanimously to affiliate with the TWU of America. On September 8, 1993 Local 249 was chartered. Under O’Brien’s leadership, we held elections of officers and set up an office, which is still our headquarters today. We were able to beat the District’s privatization efforts.
Through the years we have had many accomplishments. We were successful in getting a supplemental retirement as part of the “Invisible No More” Campaign, we fought for and achieved portal to portal pay as well as pay for our yearly physicals, we obtained payroll deduction for union dues, we have seniority in shuttle assignments, we have a salary schedule, have raised the field trip pay as well as the pay for shuttles and monitors, made the School District comply with the Federal Standards in Drug Testing, and we insist that the Employer comply with the Federal American Disabilities Act in the workplace.
While we recognize the importance of these successes we must always strive for more; better wages, workplace fairness, pension equity and in a “right to work” state, we recognize the importance of our unity and growing our membership is paramount as there is strength in numbers and maybe one day we will gain our long term goal which is collective bargaining rights for public employees in Georgia. Least not, we must be vigilant to preserve what gains we have made as Management and the lawmakers may try to return to the ways of the past.
History of Local 299