Union leadership said the contract proposal does not address fair wages, company health and 401k contributions or safe working conditions.
MERIDEN, Connecticut — The first day of school in Meriden had students back on school buses, but come Friday, the bus may not be an option to get your child to and from school.
Unionized bus drivers plan to walk off the job starting Friday when their current contract expires if a new deal meeting their demands can not be worked out with the bus company, New Britain Transportation.
“I’m nervous about it,” said parent Jennifer Moreno, whose daughter rides the bus every day. She worries about a strike’s impact on parents. “They may not have another option. They may not have transportation. They may not have [a] financial situation.”
“The only people being punished are the parents and the drivers,” said Teamsters Local 671 Field Representative Nick Frangiamore. The union represents the 57 drivers who drive students to and from Meriden public schools.
“Contracts have been ongoing, negations since early to end of May. We have yet to receive a proposal that reaches any of the industry standards,” said Frangiamore.
The union is hosting a series of practice pickets over the next two days in front of the New Britain Transportation (NBT) office in Meriden.
Union leadership said the NBT’s contract proposal does not address fair wages, company health and 401k contributions, or safe working conditions.
“Wages are obviously well below the standard. We’re just trying to get them up to whatever everyone else is getting. They have zero paid holidays. They have 25 years to get to the top rate,” said Frangiamore.
In a statement to FOX61, New Britain Transportation President and CEO Peter Agostini said negations have been ongoing, writing: “We look forward to the Teamsters approval and show our drivers and vote to accept the contract. We have worked hard to address [the] union’s request and to mirror other teamster union contracts. We did not refuse a 401(k) and Healthcare plan. We refused to switch over to the Teamster 401(k) and Healthcare plan as they currently have one in place.”
A representative for the City of Meriden said public school leadership is working on a contingency plan but likely won’t release details unless or until the drivers actually go on strike.
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