June 13, 2022
Contact: Linda He, LHe@coloradoea.org, (720) 498-0928
Cherry Creek bus assistants stand up for union rights at board meeting
Demand to be included in transportation union unit
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLO. – Tonight nearly 50 bus assistants who work with special education students and their allies demanded union rights at the Cherry Creek School District board meeting. After three months of stonewalling by board members, a draft policy was finally on the agenda, although the board did not vote on it. Nearly 80 percent of bus assistants have signed union cards.
“I’m committed to working with our most vulnerable students but even after more than 20 years, in this job I earn less than $20 an hour. I have to live with my mom because it’s not a living wage,” said Heather Music, a Cherry Creek bus assistant. “We’re here tonight to stand up for ourselves and our students so that our union is recognized, just like it is in other metro districts.”
Cherry Creek Bus Assistants United gave public comment in support of a policy that would resolve disputes during the recognition process, so that workers would not have to wait a year before further negotiations. Workers would like to ensure that the Cherry Creek School Board passes a policy that will not only allow them to be recognized as a union, but provide a pathway for future unions in Cherry Creek.
“I have worked as a bus assistant for nearly 14 years, and year after year I have seen very insignificant increases to my pay – sometimes as low as 11 cents an hour,” said Tina Brown, a Cherry Creek bus assistant. “This is why we are demanding a union in order to bargain for meaningful pay increases, so more assistants can afford to stay in this profession and provide consistency for our students.”
As required by law, bus assistants work exclusively with special education students, handling medication and managing behavior and other needs during transport to and from school. Cherry Creek bus assistants are seeking to be included in the Cherry Creek Transportation Employees Association unit and to have union recognition just like bus assistants in other metro districts, like Jefferson County, Boulder Valley and Westminster.
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.