Workers, parents rally for a 'Better Birnie Bus'

Workers at Birnie Bus Service Inc. rallied together Tuesday morning to push for what they’re calling a ‘Better Birnie Bus’ ahead of their upcoming union vote.

Posted: Oct 29, 2019 12:08 PM
Updated: Oct 29, 2019 5:57 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – Workers at Birnie Bus Service Inc. rallied together Tuesday morning to push for what they’re calling a ‘Better Birnie Bus’ ahead of an upcoming union vote.

Bus drivers, monitors and local parents showed up to the Utica terminal at 2245 Dwyer Ave., with signs reading “It’s all about the children” and “For a better Birnie Bus.”

Kirk Tupaj // WKTV

On Friday, Nov. 1, employees at Birnie Bus will have the opportunity to vote on creating a CSEA union.

According to the CSEA, employees are concerned with pay rates, safety and management at the bus company, which serves school districts in the Utica-Rome area.

Parents like Nakia Williams also joined the picket line with concerns of their own.

"No one wants to send their kid to school at 7:00 in the morning, and at 6:30 at night trying to figure out where they’re at and what time they’re going to be there," she said.

Shawn McGlinchey, vice president of risk management sent this statement from Birnie Bus:

Birnie Bus Service Inc. was founded in Rome, NY in1947. Birnie takes a lot of pride in serving their customers, students, parents and charter passengers. Birnie transports over two million passengers annually, covering more than 700 million miles. Our goal is to ensure safe, reliable and courteous transportation.

Through our drivers, monitors and support staff members at the Utica location, Birnie serves many customers in Utica and the surrounding area. We’ve been the trusted partner to these organizations for over 20 years.

Birnie was notified almost a month ago that some employees invited the union to Utica to organize our facility. Today, union people were demonstrating in the street outside our facility. Most of these people were non-employees. We have an NLRB election this Friday where our employees will have the opportunity to voice their individual opinions. We believe a majority of our employees will not support the union on Friday November 1, 2019. We are thankful that Federal law guarantees a fair election by secret ballot.

The union vote will take place on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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