School Bus Drivers Claim They Were “Locked Out” Not on Strike as Two More Officials Fired by Veolia
BOSTON/Dorchester - Around 600 members and supporters of the Boston Public Schools’ Bus Drivers’ Union, Local 8751 of the United Steelworkers, some from as far afield as California, Washington state, Baltimore, and New York, rallied at the Freeport bus yard on Dorchester Avenue in Boston Saturday.
The protest came after a further two union officials were fired by their employer, Veolia, after what was widely reported as a strike by the union on October 8th. The bus drivers are strongly claiming that they never went on strike, instead claiming that they were locked out by their employer following contract violations by the company and a request by the union for a meeting with management. Former union local President Garry Murchison, Vice President Steve Gillis, and Chairman of the union’s Grievance Committee Steve Kirschbaum have all been fired by Veolia. Union Recording Secretary, Chief Steward at the Charlestown bus yard, and another one of those fired by the company, Andre Francois, spoke to Open Media Boston. Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey, who has recently called for a City Council hearing on Veolia’s labor practices, spoke out in support of the bus drivers. Former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner also spoke out in support. According to a press statement by Veolia provided to Open Media Boston, the employees were terminated following a disciplinary process outlined in a collective bargaining agreement.