Solidarity Works – July 23rd in Seattle, July 24th in Tacoma – Boston School Bus Drivers Discuss their Victory over Veolia

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Please join A. Philip Randolph, Stop Veolia Seattle, Amalgamated Transit Union local 587 and our co-sponsors in welcoming 4 Boston school bus drivers and a 5th member of Team Solidarity to Seattle and Tacoma July 23rd + 24th for Solidarity Works. Video appearance by Monica Lewis-Patrick on Veolia’s role in the Flint lead poisoning crisis.

boston school bus drivers

Seattle
When: Saturday, July 23 1-4pm
Where: Seattle Labor Temple, Hall 1
2800 1st Ave, Seattle 98121
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible, please avoid wearing chemical scents
Lunch will be served, event is free and open to the public

Tacoma
Sunday, July 24 6-9pm Location TBA

After more than two years of hard-fought struggle, last year the militant, fighting rank and file of the Boston School Bus Drivers Union — ­United ­Steelworkers Local 8751 — won a historic victory against global giant Veolia/Transdev, one of the most notorious capitalist union busters, as well as ­Boston Public School bosses, Boston Mayor ­Marty Walsh and their media mouthpieces.

Four fired union leaders, out of work since October 2013 on bogus charges of leading a wildcat strike, went back to work on Dec. 23, 2015. In addition to rein­statement of the four with full senior­ity rights and a substantial monetary payment, the local won a contract with economic justice and the protection of 40 years of the collective bargaining process.

Solidarity is key to the Boston school bus drivers success. “Team Solidarity” has been building power among the working class through a 40+ year commitment to racial justice, disability justice, LGBT*Q rights, local struggle and anti-colonial/anti-imperial struggle.

These drivers are truly an inspiration and have so much knowledge and experience to share with us about solidarity and building power among the working class to push corporate power back.

Veolia has been in the business of union busting for centuries. How did the Boston school bus drivers prevail?

A commitment to racial justice: USW 8751 is a rank and file union with a 42+ year history of organizing against racism in Boston, the US and throughout the world, with roots in the antiracist struggles of the 1970s and the desegregation of Boston schools in 1974, the union continues to stand strong against police terror and murder. We are also proud supporters of Freedom for Mumia Abu Jamal for over 25 years. Today the union is 98% people of color, mostly Haitian and Cape Verdean immigrants and African American, Latin@ and Asian. Members including President Andre Francois are active in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Haitian liberation party Fanmi Lavalas of Boston.

A commitment to disability justice: The union since its formation has worked in alliance with disabled folks under the leadership of the Disabled People’s Liberation Front. The union has worked with disabled activists to serve the disabled student population in Boston and in the broader disability rights movement marching for full accessibility and to defend gains they’ve been a part of winning, incl. full-service on the MBTA, and other state programs. USW 8751 has been a part of the campaign against so-called “sheltered workshops”, which exploit the labor of disabled people.

A commitment to LGBT*Q rights: The very first contract of USW 8751 in 1977 had domestic partner benefits before this was widely recognized. The contract extended medical insurance, life insurance  and all other benefits to partners of drivers in a “marital-like relationship”. In 1974 some of the founders of the union housed Leslie Feinberg (author of the cult classic trans* coming of age novel Stone Butch Blues) — they ran in the streets together standing up to racists and learned about being in solidarity with LGBT*Q folx and LGBT*Q struggles. This past year USW 8751 invited national trans* justice organizers to write the language around trans* inclusion and LGBT*Q rights which now appears in the new contract.

A commitment to local struggle: USW 8751 consistently stands and puts bodies on the line with those who are struggling in the local community — with other workers, students, parents, teachers, indigenous communities, communities being gentrified, disabled folks, LGBT*Q, immigrants, all who are oppressed. Together Team Solidarity and the community have so many impressive wins. The union local was a key part of the Coalition to Save Grove Hall Post Office, supporting all four postal worker unions in a successful fight that saved the post office in the heart of Boston’s African-American community.

A commitment to anti-colonial, anti-imperial struggle: USW 8751 sent money to support the ANC in South Africa fighting apartheid. The union consistently stands in solidarity with our Palestinian trade union brothers and sisters, marching in the streets to stop Israeli assaults, free political prisoners, and put an end to apartheid and colonization. The school bus drivers have extended their solidarity to workers all over the world, most recently to Colombian unionists facing paramilitary terror. Even in the midst of its own struggle, Local 8751 participated in the United National Antiwar Coalition’s “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad” conference in May, which drew more than 400 delegates from the U.S. and Canada.

Join the movement to fight corporate power and imperialism!

Join us in welcoming the Boston School Bus Drivers Union delegation to Seattle and Tacoma this July 23 + 24, 2016 as part of their West Coast tour!

USW 8751 DELEGATE BIOS

georgia scott best background
Georgia Scott is the first African American woman treasurer of the union. She was first a bus monitor and then a bus driver for 20 years. In 1965, when Scott was only nine years old, she participated in the historic “Bloody Sunday” march for voting rights over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where she was born.

nora??
Nora Braggs was born in Mobile, Alabama. She was a school bus monitor for 10 years, and like Georgia, was able to become a bus driver because of USW local 8751’s extraordinary contract language providing special priority upgrade training and “absolute preference in hiring”. The local fought for and won this language early in contract negotiations, as a remedy for the company’s past history of racism and sexism. Nora is a shop steward and leader in many of the contract committees and is a lead organizer of Team Solidarity. Nora is very active in organizing her community thru her church.

steve verizon
Stevan Kirschbaum is a 42-year veteran driver, founding organizer and Vice President of USW 8751. He’s one of the four union leaders who were illegally fired by Veolia in November 2013. All four were voted into leadership again in April 2015, despite Veolia/Transdev attempts to divide the union. In March 2015, Stevan successfully defeated Veolia’s anti-union felony frame-up charges against him.

toutou??
Claude “Tou Tou” St. Germain

Under the leadership of this Team leader, local recording secretary and Boston Fanmi Lavalas leader, the leadership has initiated an extremely popular and exciting “stewards school” held in the bus yards, with the stated purpose of training an army of new Team Solidarity leaders and sharpening the skills of the veteran leaders. The sessions also raise political campaigns, concrete solidarity with the Verizon Strike and present lessons from Local 8751’s 40+ year history.

hannah equal education
Hannah Kirschbaum has been a member of Team Solidarity since its inception and has been an active supporter of the Boston School Bus Union for many years. She assists in organizing, and participates in, rallies, picket lines, and “pack the court” actions. She helps to chronicle USW Local 8751’s struggles by contributing articles and photos to Workers World newspaper. She is currently in her final year of study at Suffolk University Law School, concentrating in Labor Law.

And by video conference: On Veolia’s Role in the Water Crisis in Flint and Detroit

Monica Lewis Patrick protest shot
Monica Lewis Patrick, MA, is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate.  She is co-founder and now President & CEO of We the People of Detroit and has served as Director of Community Outreach & Engagement since 2009 and was recently unanimously elected by the Board to become the President & CEO.  She is an active member of the People’s Water Board Coalition, US Human Rights Network, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights(IACHR) and was named to the World Water Justice Council in October of 2015.  She is actively engaged in almost every struggle on behalf of Detroit  residents. As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, under the mentorship of former City Councilwoman the Honorable JoAnn Watson, Monica has authored legislation, conducted research and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents.

Lewis-Patrick is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit where Veolia has contracted with Detroit Water & Sewerage Department throughout the water shutoff crisis, was a key decision maker in the Flint poisoning, and is likely interested in buying all or some of the southeastern Michigan regional water system.

Lewis-Patrick, has been featured on several radio and television programs; such as, “Wake Up Detroit”, “Roland Martin Show – TV One”, MSNBC News and the like.  She has also been featured in several newspapers and magazines; such as, EBONY magazine, JET magazine, The Hindustan Times, the Michigan Citizen, Voice of Detroit, Truthout, Mother Jones, Parian Magazine- Alter Mondes and a German Publication.

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