Non-union school bus workers often fear retribution from management when they report maintenance issues related to safety.
Your Rights Under the STAA
If you or someone you know has operated equipment you believe to be unsafe or asked to operate in an unsafe manner at work, you can voice those concerns without fear of harassment or discipline. As a passenger transportation providers, we have federally protected whistleblower rights. A whistleblower is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed as dangerous or against safety standards within a company. Whistleblower protections are enshrined in federal law – our employers cannot fire us, demote us, reduce our pay, or take any type of action against us as retaliation for bringing unsafe practices to light. Furthermore, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) provides enhanced whistleblower protections specifically for workers like us who report unsafe practices in the passenger transportation industry.
Teamster Power in Action: Whistleblowing in Teamster Contracts
In addition to the protections given to whistleblowers by federal law, whistleblower protections are often also enshrined in our Teamster contracts. A perfect example of this is Article 35 of the First Student National Master Agreement, which covers every Teamster worker at First Student:
“The employer may not discharge or discipline or discriminate against any employee because the employee, or another person at the employee’s request, has filed a complaint or begun a proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety or security regulation, standard, or order, or occupational safety and health regulation or standard, or has testified or will testify in such a proceeding, or if the Employer perceives that the employee has filed or is about to file a complaint or has begun or is about to begin a proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety or security regulation, standard, or order, or occupational safety and health regulation or standard.”