Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Defend the School Bus 5! (Boston)

Nov 9 Solidarity Day 
Hands Off the School Bus Union 5!ALL OUT! NOV. 9 SOLIDARITY DAY with BOSTON SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS – VEOLIA HAS FIRED TWO MORE UNION LEADERS – Recording Secretary Andre Francois and 3 time President Garry Murchison — AS WELL AS UNJUSTLY DISCIPLINING 864 OTHER DRIVERS

Gather at corner of Dorchester Ave. & Hoyt St. – Outside Veolia Corporation
Labor and the Community: Let’s Unite to drive Union Busting Out of Boston!
Join “Solidarity Day” with the “Boston School Bus Union 5” and Local 8751
Can’t come to Boston? Plan a solidarity action at a Veolia operation near you, and email your plans to [schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org].
Send a solidarity letter on your organization’s stationery to [schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org].
 For nearly 40 years, the Boston School Bus Drivers, hard working women and men from our communities , have proudly provided safe, on time, professional service to the students and parents. They are parents and grandparents of students themselves.  The overwhelming majority are from Boston’s communities of color, African American, Latin@ and immigrants from Haiti, Cape Verde and Vietnam.  This Union worked hard against Company/City racism and to assure that the workforce reflects the diversity of Boston. USW Local 8751 has an exemplary record of fighting and winning some of the best wages, benefits, and dignified working conditions for its members, as well as providing rock solid advocacy.
Equally important is the fact that throughout it’s over 38 year history Local 8751 has stood in solidarity with Labor and Community struggles for Justice throughout the City, the region, the nation and the globe.  They have marched, rallied, picketed in support of NYC School bus workers, Verizon telephone workers, postal workers, Teamster dispatchers, Union Painters, Columbian Coke-a-Cola workers, and in virtually every labor struggle of import since the union’s formation. They aided workers to organize into unions from Eastern Bus to Boston taxi drivers and Hotel workers.  From day one, the union has fought alongside the community for Equal, Quality Education and against efforts to re-segregate the schools. The bus drivers stood firm in fighting against school closings and cutbacks and for Safety for the Children.  The Union busters think they can destroy this union.  WE WON’T LET THEM!
On June 18, 2013 Veolia, a global corporate giant known for anti-people, anti-union practices, signed an agreement to honor USW 8751’s contract. Since July 1, they have illegally violated nearly every section and sought to overturn 35 years of collective bargaining progress. There are massive and chronic payroll shortages; overcrowded and untimely routes which sacrifice safe, on time transportation; across the board failure to provide correct benefits; and a general refusal to abide by the terms and conditions of the contract. Nearly 100 individual and class action grievances have been filed. In early September, the Union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.  Still this arrogant company refused to honor the contract.
On Oct 8, the drivers reported to work and requested a meeting with Veolia to demand that Veolia honor their contract. This was a protected, unfair labor practice activity.  Despite the fact that Veolia’s top brass and the top officers of BPS were in the yards from 4:30 AM on, the company refused.  Instead, at 11:00 am Veolia initiated an illegal Lock Out of the drivers, a violation of the contract and federal law. There never was a wild-cat strike on Oct 8, nor any threat of one since.  The fear mongering, phony panic forced upon Boston’s parents, orchestrated by the Mayor and BPS, is irresponsible and designed to drive a wedge between the union and the community.  They will fail.
On Oct. 9, Veolia suspended Vice President, Pension Administrator and key benefits advocate Steven Gillis and Chair of the Grievance Committee and local founder Stevan Kirschbaum.  Within days, they also suspended Recording Secretary and Chief Steward Andre Francois; 3 time former Local President and Steward Garry Murchison; and Steward and Local founding member Richard Lynch.  The discriminatory targeting of these particular leaders represents a calculated effort on the part of Veolia and Mayor Menino to break the organizational backbone and infrastructure of the union.  On November 1, Gillis and Kirschbaum were fired.
For decades this union has stood with us, Labor and the Community.  Now it is time for us to stand with them!  An Injury to One is and Injury to all!
* All out for Solidarity Day Nov. 9th.
* Say NO to Veolia/City Union busting. 
* Hands off the 5!
* Reinstate Gillis and Kirschbaum immediately!
Go to bostonschoolbus5.org for updates and information.
For more information: [tinyurl.com/kyo9hys]

How you can support the Boston School Bus Union 5:
1. Contact: Veolia General Manager Alex Roman III: 617-780-4840; alexander.roman@veoliatransdev.com
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino: 617.635.4500, mayor@cityofboston.gov, Fax 617.635.2851
and John McDonough, Interim Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools 617-635-9050, superintendent@bostonpublicschools.org, fax 617-635-9059.
Tell them “Honor the School Bus Drivers Contract! Hand off Local 8751 leaders!” Send copies to the Committee to Defend the School Bus Union 5  at schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org
2. Hold a solidarity activity, if possible at a Veolia location near you, or. Come to the Boston SOLIDARITY DAY Rally outside Veolia’s corporate offices on November 9, 1 PM, Dorchester Ave and Hoyt St., Dorchester, MA
3. Send solidarity letters and resolutions to the Committee to Defend the School Bus Union 5 at [schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org].
4. Send your endorsement of the Committee to Defend the School Bus Union 5 to [schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org].
5.  Donate to the support fund. (account being set up.. Go to bostonschoolbus5.org or find Team Solidarity on facebook at [tinyurl.com/d5tntcg] for more info)

National Day of Solidarity on Saturday, Nov. 9th
Call to action from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal [www.laboractionmumia.org]:
* Defend Fired Unionists Who Supported Mumia!
* All Out! Defend Fired Unionists Who Supported Mumia!
* Hands Off the School Bus Union 5!
* An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal urges you to come out to defend union school bus drivers who were fired by a union-busting transnational corporation for legally protesting unfair labor practices in Boston.
These firings took place on the very day (November 1st) of a scheduled showing of the documentary, "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary," which the school bus drivers' union had helped to organize and promote!
A National Day of Solidarity with the five fired (one suspended) drivers, and with all Boston school bus drivers, has been organized for this Saturday, the 9th of November 2013. Protests are being held at offices of Veolia, the corporation responsible for these union-busting attacks.
* Boston action [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Solidarity-the-Voice-of-United-School-Bus-Union-Workers/300080180003514]
* Oakland action: [https://www.facebook.com/events/418384614951137/]
Comment from Tova Fry of Richmond, CA: Two more of the five were fired today, totaling four fired and one suspended! All out Saturday, 11/9, at 3pm at Veolia's 1720 Broadway, Oakland office to support the Boston School Bus 5 National Day of solidarity with the five and all the Boston school bus drivers. See below for one small example of how this union organizes solidarity.

"Boston Strong?"
2013-11-06 by Stephen Vittoria [http://www.mumia-themovie.com/blog.html]:
"Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary" Director Stephen Vittoria comments on Boston premiere and School Bus 5
Rather than stand behind the dedicated men and women of Steelworkers Local 8751 – the Boston School Bus Drivers Union – the Mayor of Boston, along with the notorious transnational union-busting corporation Veolia, helped to orchestrate the demolition of union leadership, further weakening the rights of rank and file members. It was union busting at its worst and it’s become an all-too common practice in America as we watch corporations line up at their gluttonous trough while unions suffer.
In early October when drivers participated in a legal protest of Veolia’s unjust labor practices, Veolia illegally reached out to the Boston cops who were more than happy to forcibly remove the drivers. Veolia then illegally locked the gates to the bus holding lot and refused to allow the drivers back to work. Veolia and their partner in crime, Mayor Thomas Menino, then zeroed in on the five union leaders for termination. (The same Thomas Menino who when asked how he would handle the situation in Detroit said he would blow up the city and start over. Boston strong, eh?)
In a show of solidarity, union workers throughout Boston (and throughout the U.S., Latin America, South America, and elsewhere) have stepped up to support their brothers and sisters as they fight another corrupt machine for their rights.
On Friday, November 1, “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary” was scheduled to screen in Boston. The Boston premiere of the film at Hibernian Hall was organized and sponsored by the Boston School Bus Union and the Women’s Fightback Network. At 10am that morning, the leadership of the union was fired by Veolia.
This was the environment and atmosphere that surrounded the film’s premiere. Some folks may have folded but not these courageous people. Instead of wallowing in the fact that they were under attack, their livelihood in jeopardy, the five leaders – backed by the solidarity of the rank and file – used the evening and the remarkable story of Mumia Abu-Jamal as a rallying point. They embraced Mumia’s struggle as their own – and in fact it is. The fight for justice – be it legal justice, rights in the workplace, education, healthcare, fair housing, and so forth is all the same struggle against corruption, oppression, and the chains of capitalism.
Late that evening after the Boston premiere, I received an email from Steve Gillis, one of the organizers (and now one of the School Bus Union 5) and he reported that three hundred people packed the hall and celebrated the life and revolutionary times of Mumia. In part, his email reported:
“You should know that your film reached deep into Boston's most oppressed communities last night, and that it did what only truly great film can do, provide a centerpiece and catalyst for new thought and vision about a better world, and how to move forward toward that goal.”
Steve’s note to me meant a great deal. It’s why filmmakers should make documentaries – that moment when you realize your work touched a nerve and offered some truth, some hope, and some inspiration to others.
Also, our thanks to Steve Gillis, Chuck Turner, Andre Francois, and Monica Moorehead, who all spoke at the event – their longtime support of Mumia Abu-Jamal and his struggle for freedom inspires me.

Stop the Terminations of the "School Bus Union 5"!2013-10-28 message Team Solidarity [schoolbus5@teamsolidarity.org]
All Out! Emergency Rally!
Stand with the Boston School Bus Drivers!
Rally:  Monday, Oct. 28th
1:30 PM – on.
(Come immediately after work.  The Rally will last and grow into the evening.)
Veolia Transportation general offices [35 Freeport Way, Dorchester]
(one block from Dorchester Ave. off Freeport St., behind the school bus yard)
Stand in Solidarity with USW Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers’ Union, in its struggle to stop the union-busting corporation Veolia Transportation in its illegal attack on the union’s members, leadership and contract.
On Monday, Oct. 28th, Veolia has planned a disciplinary hearing, threatening to terminate 5 of USW Local 8751’s elected officers.   Join the protest at Veolia in Dorchester from 1:30 PM on.  If you’re working, come immediately after work to demand, “Veolia:  Hands Off the School Bus Union 5!” - Grievance Chair Steve Kirschbaum, Recording Secretary Andre Francois, Vice President Steve Gillis, Steward Garry Murchison and Steward Rick Lynch.
Since day one of taking over the Boston school bus management contract on July 1, 2013, Veolia has committed numerous Unfair Labor Practices, violated nearly every term and condition of the drivers’ employment contract, and engaged in actions designed to steal literally millions of dollars from drivers’ paychecks.  In the process, Veolia has sacrificed student safety on the altar of profit, among other things creating routes designed by GPS-based software that result in massive lateness to school and to home, and refusing to pay drivers for all their time worked.
On October 8th, when drivers engaged in a legally protected protest of Veolia’s unfair labor practices, Veolia wrongly called the police and forcibly removed the drivers, illegally locking the gates and refusing to let the drivers back in to work.  Boston Mayor Menino and Veolia then targeted 5 officers of Local 8751 for termination, which disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Monday, October 28th.
Boston School Bus Drivers Union Local 8751 exemplifies what a labor union should be.  Not only has its members been successful in winning living wages, benefits and unprecedented contract language, This local is willing to extend real solidarity to other workers whenever possible. This union has fought racism, sexism, anti-gay bigotry, every war since the 1970's and practiced solidarity with all workers struggles inside and outside of union organizations.
This union-busting action by Veolia Transportation is outrageous.  Solidarity is not a crime.  Standing up with the members’ for their rights is not a crime.  All of labor needs to stand up and say, “We will join ranks to ensure that Veolia’s crime will not succeed, in Boston or any of its world-wide operations.”
Veolia:  “Hands Off the Boston School Bus Union 5!”
Stop the attacks on USW Local 8751!


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