MV Transportation Division 422 Employees Left Out in the Cold While Others Remain Compensated

| May 6, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly became aware of the significant impact that it would have on those in our lives that we care the most for—our children.  Day-to-day routines that are vital to the well-being of all children were drastically disrupted when Illinois leadership implemented a “stay at home order,” which has been extended to May 30th. Even more disruptive to our children’s sense of normalcy, was the decision to close all Illinois schools for the remainder of the academic school year.  Parents across the state continue to scramble to find replacement childcare and navigate e-learning. While both changes were deemed necessary by the Governor of Illinois to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve” their impact cannot be ignored.

Lost in this rush to close schools and transition to e-learning were one hundred of Chicago’s greatest service workers, the paratransit drivers and aides who work for MV Transportation’s Division 422. These members of Teamsters Local 727 are responsible for safely transporting disabled children to and from school each day throughout the Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs.  With no school in session, MV Transportation made the heartless choice to furlough these drivers and aides without pay, sending them home to fend for themselves.  By unlawfully furloughing employees in this manner, MV Transportation violated the current collective bargaining agreement and federal labor laws, which obligate the company to bargain with the Union before any decision like this can be implemented.

In response to these unlawful furloughs, Local 727 representative David Glass immediately filed a grievance, along with a comprehensive information request on March 17th.  The Union also filed two unfair labor practices against MV regarding the information request and unlawful furlough. The Union demanded, and continues to demand, that every member effected by this furlough be made-whole for any and all lost wages and benefits. Both the grievance and unfair labor practice charge are still pending.

On April 8th, the Union inquired whether or not MV Transportation was planning to apply for any federal assistance programs, including loan and payroll relief offered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  These loan and payroll programs were designed by Congress to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses during these difficult times by enabling businesses to keep employees paid.  To date, the company has not responded to the simple and clear requests posted by 727.  Instead, the company has continuously put the blame on CPS (Chicago Public Schools) management—claiming that they are waiting on funding from the school system.  If true,this is especially insulting since the Union learned that other Chicago Public Schools employees continue to be compensated during the recent school closings. MV Transportation not only has a duty to pay the parantransit drivers, but to go after any and all funding they can to do so. The law requires them to provide the information requested by the Union, and if they are trying to unfairly pass the blame onto CPS, the Union will find out and hold MV accountable.

“It’s a travesty that this group of paratransit drivers and aides are being treated differently than others in their industry.  Every day, these members are responsible for the safety of our city’s children. When we talk about hidden heroes, these are the people we are talking about. Not only is furloughing these members, without notice or pay, a violation of the contract and the law, it’s immoral. MV Transportation and CPS should be ashamed of themselves!” said John Coli, Jr., Secretary Treasurer of Local 727.

The Union will continue to process the grievance and unfair labor charges filed on behalf of the members of MV Transportation Division 422.  Any questions should be directed to David Glass at (847) 696-7500.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

Category: PARATRANSIT, Union News

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