Yale Shuttle drivers, represented by the Teamsters Union Local 443 union, and First Transit, the company contracted by Yale to run their shuttle system, reached an agreement on April 9 eliminating the possibility of a strike in the near future.
On March 29, the New Haven Independent reported that 50 Yale Shuttle drivers threatened to strike if they did not reach a new contract with First Transit by the next week. Workers asked for a raise, as well as better health benefits and increased leave time. According to First Transit spokesman Jay Brock, Teamsters Local 443 ratified an agreement with the company on April 9.
“We are glad that we have reached an agreement,” Brock said. “We respect our employees’ rights to collective bargaining and we are proud of our employees.”
While he declined to go into details of the agreement or the negotiation process between the union and the company, he noted that shuttle service went uninterrupted during negotiations.
A representative from Teamsters Local 443 did not respond to a request for comment on the negotiations. Yale University Transportation Options Director Ed Bebyn said he did not have any information on the agreement as it was negotiated solely between First Transit and the drivers’ union. First Transit is licensed by Yale to supply 60 shuttles for students and faculty.
Before negotiations, the drivers earned wages starting at $13.49 an hour. According to a shuttle driver who declined to give her name, she has not seen the raise in her paycheck yet.
“I couldn’t afford to go on a strike,” the driver said.
The agreement proves to be good news for many Yale students and faculty members who rely on the shuttles for transportation throughout campus and New Haven. Many Yale College students, in particular, rely on the shuttle to go up Science Hill on Prospect Street.
Elizabeth Ruddy ’20 said she often uses the shuttle to get to a physical training appointment at Yale Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation on 800 Howard Ave., near the Yale School of Medicine, given the distance
Other students, like Danielle Yerdon ’20, also pointed out that the shuttle could be especially useful in inclement weather.
First Transit operates campus transit systems at over 25 universities and colleges across the United States.