UT Shuttle Worker Pamphlet
This is the text of a pamphlet handed out in late March 2004
SUPPORT YOUR DRIVERS
THEY SUPPORT YOU!
Students for a Fair and Safe Shuttle
YOU ARE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
University officials continue to tell us that they bear no responsibility for the current problems infecting our student transportation system. They have never denied the seemingly endless problems with the shuttle system that need to be addressed; they only deny their own responsibility to do anything about it. They claim that it is not their fault, but the fault of the company that was hired by the company they hired. If not that, then at least it is the fault of the company they hired. One of those two companies will have to take responsibility, because under no circumstances are our university officials willing to do it. That’s the story line coming from Faulkner’s Tower. But you know there is an old saying: “You are the company you keep.”
Our bus drivers have had their health care benefits cut twice during the past two years in which they have been working without a contract. The newest and most gracious “offer” they have received is to have their benefits written into a contract in pencil or erase-able ink, to be changed at the whim of their employer. We as students know what this means. Think: deregulated tuition. Furthermore, the shuttle drivers still do not have paid sick leave, even though their counterparts on Capital Metro’s fixed routes have twelve days of paid sick leave per year. So when the people who drive buses full of students to and from our university day in and day out get sick they are faced with a dilemma: taking off work at the cost of a day’s pay so that they can try to go to a doctor that they increasingly cannot afford, or just sucking it up and getting behind the wheel of a bus-full of students. This situation is sick. It doesn’t make any sense. What’s even more sickening is that our university officials say that they have no responsibility for the welfare of either their own students or the public servants who keep the university running on a day to day basis.
As if this weren’t enough, here come the flaming school buses. It sounds like a joke. It isn’t. On Thursday February 19, 2004, the most recent bus fire occurred. The driver of the bus told the Austin Fire Department when they arrived to the scene that the bus was so filled with white smoke that he wasn’t even able to see the students he was carrying on the bus. This marked bus fire number six for the company that was hired by the company that UT hired. There has never been a single fire on a bus in the thirty year history of the UT Shuttle under any other company but this one. Never before has this happened. Two buses have been totaled by fires, charred beyond recognition. Bus driver Glenn Gaven aptly described the appearance of these fire-scorched buses that sit in the yard at Capital Metro: “These buses look like they came from Iraq or Afghanistan, not the University of Texas at Austin.” The culprit of these fires is not unknown. The problem is that the bolts on the electrical panels must be tightened every six thousand miles, as the manufacturer Gillig has warned. It is not getting done. The number of service hours on the buses is 7000 hours per year lower than in 1997-1998. In the last year alone, however, the number of passengers on the buses has increased by twenty percent.
These bus fires are not a joke. What’s funny is that the buses that are burning are most easily identifiable by their full-length orange stripe and accompanying emblem, “The University of Texas at Austin”, and that all the while the officials at The University of Texas at Austin deny their responsibility for the welfare of their students and the people who drive them to and from school. They tell us to take our complaints across the Atlantic Ocean to the company that was hired by the company they hired. What do you think? I’m not sure but, my mother always told me, “You are the company you keep.”
here are the facts:
- U.T. Shuttle drivers have worked for 2 yrs. without a contract
- U.T. shuttle drivers have worked for three years without a pay raise
- U.T. shuttle drivers have had their medical benefits cut twice in that time
- Capital metro subcontracts the U.T. shuttle system to the lowest bidder
- The present subcontractor underbid by millions
- U.T. Shuttle drivers are paid a third less than their counterparts driving city routes
- There have been, to date, six bus fires under this contractor, two buses were totaled by fires. in the thirty year history of the shuttle, no bus fires have occurred except on this subcontractor’s watch
U.T. does not deny these facts,
only their responsibility to do anything about it!
Do you want to do something about it ?
- Support your driver
Let them know that you support them
- Spread the word
Discuss this issue with your fellow students
- Sign a petition
Petition will be passed around on buses and on the West Mall
- Come to the organizational meeting Wed 3/31
Join us at 7pm in from of the Union
- Come to the rally Fri 4/2 at the Bus Circle
There will be a speak-out beginning at 11am
For more information or to get involved contact:
Christopher Hamilton at
or (512) 374-0883