RPS bus drivers choose new union

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 6/15/2023, 6 p.m.
Richmond Public Schools now has a third union with which to bargain.

Richmond Public Schools now has a third union with which to bargain.

In a runoff election Friday, school bus drivers and other transportation employees voted to have the Laborers’ International Union of North America represent them.

Of the 144 votes cast, LIUNA Local 804 received 76 to secure a majority over the competitive Teamsters Union, which received 58 votes.

In a first round election last month, employees eliminated the Richmond Education Association.

LIUNA representatives have already contacted RPS officials in seeking to begin negotiations on behalf of the 220 members of the bargaining unit. However, any pay and benefit increases could not become effective until the 2024- 25 budget, as the 2023-2024 budget already is in place.

The Teamsters previously gained a foothold in securing support from RPS principals who have agreed to join Local 592. All other employees, including teachers, instructional aides, office staff and technical employees, have chosen the REA as their representative.

Meanwhile, unionizing continues to take shape among City Hall employees. Voting is underway for several groups of employees to finalize bargaining units and representation.

The Service Employees International Union has won the support of most of the employees, except for police officers and firefighters, who have their own representation.

The only group left to make a decision are the nearly 600 labor and trades employees primarily in the departments of Public Utilities and Public Works.

The Free Press has been told that workers are voting by mail on whether to be represented by the LIUNA or the Teamsters. A decision is expected later this month.