Driving for Justice in New York

May 21, 2008: School bus drivers in New York City are showing that persistence pays off—literally. Ask Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a Local 854 Teamster and member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

The National Labor Relations Board is demanding that Consolidated Bus Transit reinstate Rodriguez and pay him nearly $150,000 in back pay and benefits after illegally firing him.

When his rights were violated, TDU helped Rodriguez and other Local 854 Teamsters to take legal action—appealing their case all the way up to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington.

The Board overturned on appeal an earlier ruling by an NLRB administrative law judge. The Board also ruled that Local 854 President Daniel Gatto violently threatened TDU member and shop steward Jona Fleurimont.

Local 854 has now complied with the Board decision and promised to respect workers’ rights. But the company continues to dig in its heels. The case is now in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“TDU has made it possible to stand up for our rights and defend ourselves,” Rodriguez said. “We never would have been able to come this far without having an organization behind us.”

Last month, CBT offered Rodriguez $60,000 and his job back to settle the case. Rodriguez turned down the offer.

“The company’s offer wasn’t serious. They’re making a mistake if they think they’re going to throw me a bone and have me chase it like a dog,” Rodriguez said. “It’s time for the company to show some respect for the law and for their workforce.”

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