Alabama Bus Drivers On Strike!
Tuscaloosa, AL – Alabama bus drivers are on strike. At the University of Alabama, bus drivers, students and supporters picketed First Transit headquarters the morning of March 1. The Crimson Ride Shuttle Drivers, part of ATU Local 1208, decided to strike after First Transit offered the workers crumbs from the table. At last week’s negotiation, First Transit refused to offer a living wage, job security and decent health care benefits. The Alabama bus drivers, who make $9.50 an hour, decided they had had enough.
One of the Alabama bus drivers, Felicia Graves, said, “I am demanding that we be fairly treated. I've driven the bus for some of ‘my babies’ – I call them ‘my babies’ since I’ve known them from when they were in the fourth grade. The company refuses to do any maintenance on these buses and not only are they putting my safety on the line but also they're putting the students safety on the line. I'm going on strike until they give us respect. I'm already not making money. I have nothing to lose.”
Another Crimson Ride driver, Singrid Sanders, said, “What I don't understand is that if you go down to the Alabama Department of Transportation to get a driver's license you have to pay $20. I have to pay $65 for my license. That's because you can't do what I do. We really love working and doing what we do, but they aren't taking us seriously. I'm going on strike until they recognize us for the hard work that we do.”
Students are also involved, and Students for a Democratic Society organized a rally on campus in support of the strike. Dozens of students and supporters met on the quad to show support for the bus drivers. “We are going to join the strikers and rally and picket to show our support. We can walk or bike to show our respect for the strike. We want a living wage and fair contract now!” said Laura Langley, one of the organizers of the rally.
University of Alabama Students for a Democratic Society are asking supporters across the country to help support the strike. Please call Dr. Witt, the President of the University of Alabama, who is threatening to send University employees to drive the buses and scab. Call President Witt at 205-348-5103