Blue Bird Workers in Georgia Have Voted to Unionize

·2 min read
Photo:  Matthew Pearson/WABE (AP)
Photo: Matthew Pearson/WABE (AP)

If you’re not already familiar, Blue Bird is a bus manufacturer located in Fort Valley, Georgia known mainly for building school buses. It’s also the largest employer in the county. And in the latest win for workers’ rights, Blue Bird’s employees have voted to unionize.

13WMAZ reports that over the course of two days, 697 Blue Bird workers voted in favor of joining the United Steelworkers Union, with 435 voting against. Workers reportedly told 13WMAZ that they’re concerned about wages but also their own health and safety.

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The company has until Friday to file an objection. But assuming Blue Bird can’t find a legitimate reason why the results of the election should be considered illegitimate, the National Labor Relations Bureau is expected to certify the election. Once that happens, negotiations over the new union contract can begin. How long that process will take, however, isn’t clear at this time.

If you know anything about companies, it should come as no surprise that Blue Bird says the workers’ complaints are illegitimate and that it would prefer to keep the union out of its business. Prior to the election, a spokesperson for the company told 13WMAZ:

We believe that leadership and team members talking directly with one another is the best way to create a positive work environment and achieve our goals of quality, productivity and increased opportunity and rewards for every team member. Although we respect and support the right for employees to choose, we do not believe that Blue Bird is better served by injecting a labor union into our relationship with employees.

Of course, Blue Bird doesn’t think a union will be better for the company. All those pesky requests for better pay and safer workplace conditions have the potential to cut into Blue Bird’s profits. They can’t have that now, can they?

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