Robert Newcomer (pictured above) began driving a school bus in San Francisco in 1974. During his 34 years of service he has been accident free for the past 24 years. After being involved in a minor rear end accident, Mr. Newcomer was summarily fired by First Student. Robert is one of four long-term drivers who has been fired recently for, what the union believes are, insufficient causes and in violation of our contract.
Mr. Newcomer is a member of UTU #1741, which has a legally negotiated and ratified contract with FirstStudent. The contract lays out a clear and coherent policy of progressive discipline - which First Student ignored by unilaterally declaring that any driver who is involved in a rear end accident will be summarily fired. First Student has a legal obligation to honor it's contractual obligation with UTU 1741, an obligation that it has chosen to pay no attention to. Even when ordered to honor the contract by state mediators, First Student continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of it's employees and the children we serve.
What makes this case particularly tragic is the fact that Mr. Newcomer is HIV positive. The successful management and treatment of his disease requires regular and consistent treatment with a variety of drugs.. Without his job and the medical insurance that comes with it, Mr. Newcomer is left with the crushing burden of trying to fight for his job while also fighting for his life. His daughter Virgina, a ten year veteran of the school bus force, asked First Student if she could add her father to her health insurance plan while his situation is being resolved. They refused. This is First Student's way of wishing the Newcomer family a very happy and merry holiday season.
Your children have been safely transported by Mr. Newcomer for over 24 years. He has become the familiar face and the steady hand that makes the transport of special needs children a success.
Please don't allow the slash and burn techniques of First Student to rob your children of the safe and reliable transportation they rightfully deserve.
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