From Selma to Boston: ‘I’m fighting for the union!’

first_imgGeorgia Scott of Steelworkers Local 8751, Boston School Bus Drivers Union, spoke on Aug. 21 with Workers World reporter Minnie Bruce Pratt about the drivers’ ongoing struggle against union-busting corporate giant Veolia/Transdev. The company has illegally fired four union leaders and flagrantly violated contract conditions, resulting in almost 700 union grievances. Scott, the treasurer of Team Solidarity for the union, has been first a bus monitor and then a bus driver for 20 years. In 1965, when Scott was only nine years old, she participated in the historic “Bloody Sunday” march for voting rights over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., where she was born.Women union members at Workers World meeting say, “Victory to the school bus drivers!” Georgia Scott is second from right, back row.WW photo: Stevan KirschbaumWorkers World: How does Selma connect to your struggle today as a bus driver?Georgia Scott: This is the same struggle as 1965 in Selma. Schools were limited — all Black, all white. The education system did not work for people of color. We didn’t have the books, the tools we needed. There were places we weren’t allowed to go because of our color, like in the movies, in restaurants. There were neighborhoods we weren’t allowed to go into. The purpose of the movement was to give us the same rights as all the other people.I didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening, but I saw the segregated schools, the segregated parts of town. I didn’t understand Selma was as big as it was, and I was born there!Right now in Boston our children can go to school where they need to go to meet their needs. I did not have that opportunity growing up. Veolia cutting back on the buses, that will limit our children, their safety and their choices of education.The fight in Selma is the same fight as now.WW: How do monitors and drivers help keep the children safe?GS: The children get to know me, tell me if there is something going on at school or home. If there’s a fight on the bus, I’m the one who stops the fight. I am the one who is supervising. I am the one who will stop the child from being harmed.A camera is not going to protect the child. It’s me. I’m the one who will protect the child. That’s the most important piece of our work, the monitors and the drivers.We are the safety zone for the children.WW: Why is this union a social justice union — fighting also for other people, marching with people for Palestine, for LGBT rights and so forth?GS: I think we are all born with the will to resist. For me it comes with being born and raised in Alabama. My mother was on that bridge too, and I learned from her.I also think for this union it goes back to the 1974 busing struggle [against segregation] when the drivers were transporting our children into South Boston where they weren’t wanted. The drivers that came on board had the mentality of standing firm and being strong, knowing that the things going on were wrong.This union is based on listening, going out into the community, listening to the parents, building on that, and needing to struggle.WW: Some in the union are from Cape Verde and fought for liberation from Portuguese colonization, and many in this majority Haitian union are part of the struggle against imperialism in Haiti with Fanmi Lavalas.GS:  Our strength could also be we are a mixed group of people, from all walks of life. We’ve had different struggles. From being in the union, I’ve learned how to fight.Sitting at the table with Transdev in particular — I call it Trans-devil! — I’m looking across the table at one of them with a smirk on his face. He is dealing with thousands of children. There is nothing funny about talking about children on the street corner, and then boxing drivers in about the children’s safety.So when I see that smirk, my feeling is I have to fight this guy, and I need to be around people who know how to fight this guy.WW: How is Veolia/Transdev changing the way it computes your pay?GS: The hours we are paid for are the hours listed as the time it takes to drive a route — the flat rate.The flat rate, before Veolia put in the telematics system, was computed by experienced people who knew the specific routes on the road. They knew how long it really took to drive that particular route.Arbitration ruled against the use of GPS for the creation and re-evaluation of flat rates, but the company is still illegally using it every day.Now that the company is using GPS to compute the flat rate, the time they allow on routes is shorter and impossible. It doesn’t allow for fire trucks, accidents, emergencies on the bus. Or enough time to stop, get the child across, take a seat, get a seat belt on. They allow half a minute for that.We have to be able to take care of whatever is going on, and be paid for that. For instance, last year it was so cold, there was ice inside my bus. I told dispatch I was not going to move until I warmed the bus up for the children.But management said to me “Oh no, just go, put the kids on, and go“ — in a bus with ice inside!I said no! I’m saying no to a lot of things this company is ordering.WW: I heard Veolia/Transdev tried to make the drivers reapply for their jobs when the company took over.GS: Most of us, 95 percent, did not do the new hire application — one of the first things the company asked for. We said we are not new employees, the company is new. If anyone should do a new application, it should be the company — and if they had applied to us, they would not have gotten the job!WW: Why do workers need a union?GS: My brother is still in Selma. He’s 57 years old, worked at a hospital in the kitchen, in and out of the freezer. He developed arthritis, and the doctor put him on medical leave. The company fired him. Twenty years on the job. No union, no support, no protection!Now he’s working at a laundry. I went home and rode out to his workplace to have lunch with him. My brother told me he almost could not get away to go out with me. The company policy is: “You can’t have people coming here on the job.”That’s what these big corporate conglomerates want, to control us. They’ve got the power and the money.They’ve got the money. We’ve got the people.One person standing alone has no power. All of us together, that’s our strength.I know the importance of the union. This is not just about Boston. It’s going on in the rest of the county, and it’s a global issue.So I’m going to fight for the union!For more information, go to and search for “Boston school bus drivers step up the fight.”To support USW Local 8751, go to thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

India vs Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017: Virat Kohli leads all-round India to emphatic win over Pakistan

first_imgIndia defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by 124 runs in a rain-marred Group B encounter of the Champions Trophy here on Sunday. (SCORECARD)CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEOAsked to bat first, the Indians rode on a power-packed performance by the top order to post a challenging total of 319/3 in an innings affected by rain twice — and consequently shortened to 48 overs. (India vs Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017: Highlights)Further rain interruptions forced the match officials to revise the target to 324 runs off 48 overs according to the Duckworth-Lewis method.The Pakistanis were off to a steady start thanks to openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad, who put together an opening stand of 47 runs in nine overs before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck the first blow for India by trapping the latter leg before.Ali continued to battle on, top scoring for Pakistan with a steady 50 runs off 65 balls before being dismissed.But the rest of the Pakistan batsmen seemed to buckle under pressure and failed to rise to the challenge.The promising Babar Azam – touted as Pakistan’s answer to Virat Kohli – seemed decidedly ordinary during his 12-ball stay in the middle, scoring just eight runs before a superb reflex catch by Ravindra Jadeja off Umesh Yadav’s bowling ensured his departure.A 30-run stand between Ali and Mohammad Hafeez followed by a 23-run partnership by Hafeez and Shoaib Malik was the only bit of resistance that the Pakistanis could manage thereafter.Apart from Ali, Hafeez was the only Pakistan batsmen who managed to stand up to the Indian bowlers even as wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end. He scored 33 off 43 balls with two hits to the fence.advertisementFast bowler Umesh Yadav was the most successful among the Indian bowlers with figures of 3/0 in 7.4 overs.Fellow pacer Hardik Pandya and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja returned identical figures of 2/43 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar notched up 1/23.Earlier, a brilliant batting display helped India post a challenging 319/3.Top-order batsmen Rohit Sharma (91 runs in 119 balls), skipper Virat Kohli (81 not out), Shikhar Dhawan (68 runs in 65 balls) and Yuvraj Singh (53 runs in 32 balls) were the major contributors.All forged crucial partnerships, played the ball to its merit and post-rain, when it was more difficult to bat with the same concentration, applied themselves to the English conditions.Apart from the top order, all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s cameo (20 runs in six balls) was also useful.World No 8 Pakistan, on the other hand, were seen struggling throughout the innings. Their fielders dropped several catches and their bowlers bowled poor length.For India, Rohit and Shikhar started on a cautious note and just when both the batsmen seemed to be settling in the middle, rain played the spoilsport.After almost a 40-minute hold-up, with the scoreboard reading 46 runs in 9.5 overs, India regrouped their strategy and started counter-attacking.Rohit and Dhawan displayed some brilliant shots in order to boost the run rate. Rohit, who was struggling initially, got to his half-century in the 19th over with a pull that went for a six at the mid-wicket. Soon, in the very next over, Dhawan also brought up his 50 with a fine shot at backward point.After scoring 110 runs in 20 overs, both sought to exploit the conditions and poor fielding from the Pakistani players. But while doing so, Dhawan was caught at deep mid-wicket by Azhar Ali off Shadab Khan in the 25th over, breaking their 136-run partnership.Kohli, who came in, supported Rohit well at the other end by simply rotating the strike.Rohit, who now seemed confident at the crease, kept on punishing the bowlers. But in the 33rd over, the skies opened up again and play was interrupted.After a 45-minute hiatus, the Virat-Rohit partnership soon ended in the latter’s run-out — and he missed a well-deserved ton. In the 37th over, Virat wanted to steal a single but a strong throw from backward point by Babar Azam did the trick and Rohit, who slammed seven boundaries and two sixes, failed to scramble home.Incoming batsman Yuvraj Singh, true to his reputation, started thrashing Pakistani bowlers all around. The pressure started building on the bowlers and fielders and, as a result, they dropped Yuvraj and Kohli in the process, which cost them hugely in the death overs.The two batsman forged a 93-run partnership for the third wicket before Yuvraj was adjudged leg before wicket in the penultimate over after the Pakistan skipper went for a review and was called correct.An unperturbed Kohli and new batsman Pandya played freely and started knocking the ball out of the ground. Pandya hit three consecutive sixes off Imad Wasim in the last over.advertisementShadab and Hasan Ali took one wicket each.last_img read more