Dexter school bus drivers and monitors create new union
Dexter school bus drivers and monitors have formed a new union. The 36 members ousted their old union, the AFL-CIO affiliated International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 of Bloomfield Hills, because they didn't like the way they were treated.
The new union is called the West Washtenaw Bus Drivers and Monitors Association.
IUOE Local 324 political coordinator Ryan Dunn put out a news release on Monday about the situation with the Dexter bus drivers. In it he stated that Local 324 has been the elected bargaining representative of the bus drivers and monitors in Dexter for more than a decade.
"Some newer employees who came from other careers, and did not have the same vested interest as longer term employees, were not happy when the last collective bargaining agreement was ratified by the unit. The same as each contract over the years had been, a full vote was conducted and a sound majority ruled in favor of the agreement. Over the next several months, multiple representatives from Local 324 met with the members on several occasions in an effort to resolve the issues, address the questions, and attempted to give the members the autonomy they desired while maintaining the highest level of representation."
The Dexter bus drivers and monitors say they have had problems with representation from IUOE Local 324 for the past few years, and a majority petitioned for an election of new union stewards. A dispute over the election, votes and bylaws lead to the Dexter workers' decision to leave the union.
The West Washtenaw Bus Drivers and Monitors Association news release states, "This is why a majority of the bus drivers and monitors filed a petition with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) to decertify IUOE Local 324 and re-certify as their own collective bargaining union."
Dunn states, "We felt it was better to step aside and allow the group a clear path to determining their fate alone, than prolong the bitterness between long-term members and new members of the group. We believe this was a responsible decision and was in the best interest of all involved." Dendy, who works as a Dexter bus driver, stated, "If part of my paycheck is taken away from me providing for my 10 kids and is going to provide fair representation, I would like to get what I am paying for."
Dendy says that he and the other 35 bus drivers and monitors determined that other unions couldn't offer anything much better than IUOE Local 324 and that's why they decided to start their own union.
"We'll have our own bank account, officers, and bylaws, and charge significantly less money for dues," said Dendy. "We can use that money for negotiations and provide scholarships to the bus drivers' kids when they graduate. We get to vote on how we do everything, and it's all local."
Sean Burton, executive director of support services for Dexter Community Schools, says that the school district supports the bus drivers and monitors.
Burton said, "As to the events that have transpired and the politics between the unions, the school district officially has no comment because we don't want to get involved in issues of the union. We are about supporting our employees."
Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter. Contact the AnnArbor.com news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.