CFL News
May 24, 2012

Teamster bill a win for school bus safety

Transportation safety will now be Illinois' top priority in awarding public school bus contracts thanks to a Teamster-backed bill passed by the state legislature this week.

House Bill 4029, strongly supported by Teamsters Joint Council 25 and Teamsters Local 777, was sent to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn on May 22 after passing the Illinois House 71-46. State senators supported the initiative by a vote of 32-19 on May 15. Once signed, the new legislation will allow school districts statewide to first consider school bus safety and comfort, and stable service from providers, before simply awarding contracts to the lowest bidder.

“The new law will finally ensure that driver safety, skills and student security are not trumped by reckless, fly-by-night owner-operators hoping to win contracts with the lowest possible bid,” said John T. Coli, President of Joint Council 25.

Carried by State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and State Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago), HB 4029’s passage was made possible in large part by a coalition of Teamster affiliates and participating employers. Joint Council 25 Trustee and Local 777 President James T. Glimco worked to guide the effort in Springfield with the International Union’s Drive Up Standards campaign. The Teamsters also acted to answer questions on the bill’s higher safety standards raised by Illinois School Board administrators, the Illinois State Board of Education and a transportation alliance of school bus companies.

In addition to emphasizing bus and driver safety, the bill broadens responsible bidding overall for state transportation services. Joint Council 25 Political Director Jeff Crabtree provided testimony on the provision in Illinois House and Senate committees, and was joined by Local 777’s Jennifer Schaefer to help answer questions about current Teamster school bus contracts.

“It’s one thing for the state to want to save money on its transportation services, but we cannot jeopardize student safety to help Illinois save a few extra bucks on its contracts,” said Glimco, representing thousands of school bus workers with Local 777. “Public school districts across Illinois will be better served under the new law by drivers who can provide the services our children deserve.”

Under state law, Gov. Quinn may sign HB 4029 any time within 60 days of its passage. For future updates, please visit www.ChicagoTeamsters.org.

Drive Up Standards is a national campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry. Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 34,000 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have become Teamsters. For more information on the Drive Up Standards campaign, visit www.DriveUpStandards.org.

Teamsters Local 777 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, which represents more than 100,000 hardworking men and women throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana.

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