Chattanooga Organized For Action
The mission of Chattanooga Organized for Action is to assist individuals and organizations in becoming the essential agents of real systemic change to achieve social, economic and environmental justice.
Stand Up for School Bus Safety Coalition and Hamilton County School Bus Drivers Achieve Major Results
It's amazing what the community can do when it works together. After the tragic Woodmore school bus crash in November of 2016, local bus drivers feared that major safety problems were still being ignored by the private bus company, Durham School Services. The drivers met with a number of community organizations, and requested support from the Teamsters union; shortly afterwards, the Stand Up for School Bus Safety was launched to bring their concerns to the public while keeping drivers protected from retaliation.
The coalition held press conferences, presented issues to the local school board, and attended national school conferences to highlight the lack of accountability in many private bus contracts. In April of 2018 they released a report compiled by researchers at Wayne State University that compared the safety record of Durham to other major companies. That report and a corresponding letter was sent to over 250 school districts that had a contract with the bus company.
An organized effort gets results! The Hamilton County Department of Education hired a third-party contract supervisor to make sure contracts with the school district were being upheld. In May of 2018, the bus drivers voted to unionize with the Teamsters Local 327. A year later they were able to secure their first contract. As the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported:
In April of 2019, the Hamilton County School Board severed ties with Durham School Services and signed a contract with First Student, a Durham competitor.
Chattanooga Organized for Action is proud to have partnered with bus drivers and other community organizations in the Stand Up for School Bus Safety coalition. Their successes are a success for all of us.