In the year 2000 a handful of Columbia County School Bus Drivers were getting fed up with being treated so badly. The drivers were not getting paid for all time worked and were being overlooked for opportunities that would result in additional pay.
So, Pam Sullivent met Sissy Hobbs and together they were determined to find a way to make their employers notice them. They decided they needed to join a union. Not knowing just where to begin, their first thought was the Teamsters.
Anthony Tony, an organizer for the Teamsters, Local 528, came down and spoke to a room full of drivers. The drivers being public employees and working in a Right-To- Work state were new to the Teamsters. Well, after about a year of publicity and trying to get organized the Teamsters met with the Board of Education and the Board of Education told them “NO!!” the drivers cannot belong to a union. So the Teamsters left them.
Well, the drivers were very depressed and ready to quit their jobs. Towards the end of 2001, a man by the name of Ben Morgan, President of TWU Local 527, contacted Pam Sullivent and told her that he believed that the Transport Workers Union could help us become unionized. This union had already organized Georgia School Bus Drivers.
We went to Atlanta and met International Administrative Vice President Hubert Snead and Organizer Steve Roberts and they told us everything we wanted to hear. We did not have to ask permission to join a union and we could become a union. Well, a few months later we got our Charter on February 9, 2002.
They sent us to school to learn about what our rights were and how to help our Local grow and we met some wonderful people. We also participated in the first School Bus Drivers Seminar at the George Meany Center.
We put our knowledge to work and filed a grievance about time worked with no pay. After following the County’s procedure on this matter, we filed a lawsuit with the help of TWU International and their brilliant attorney Robert Weaver.
After two years of being jerked around and two days before our court date, the Columbia County Board of Education settled out of Court with 47 Union School Bus Drivers. We got dues check-off, recognition and the right to represent our fellow union drivers in job related grievances.
The TWU has been the best thing that has ever happened to the Columbia County School Bus Drivers. They are all our Angels. We will forever be in their debt.
THANK YOU TWU !!!
Sissy Hobbs, President