As hundreds rally in support of fired Boston bus strikers, others are unsympathetic

More than 600 Boston school bus drivers staged a strike on Oct. 8, 2013. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
More than 600 Boston school bus drivers staged a strike on Oct. 8, 2013.
Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

More than 200 people rallied Saturday in support of four union leaders who were fired for their involvement last month in a wildcat strike of Boston’s school bus drivers.

Stevan Kirschbaum, Steve Gillis, Andre Francois, and Garry Murchison, of of United Steelworkers of America Local 8751, were fired last week for what authorities described as an illegal strike on Oct. 8.

Veolia Transportation Spokeswoman Valerie Michael confirmed to the Boston Globe that the employees were fired because they “had led and instigated this illegal walkout.”

The unannounced strike left as many of 33,000 bewildered Boston-area students without transportation.

Saturday’s rally was held at a Dorchester bus yard, and was promoted on a Facebook event page entitled Day of Solidarity with the Boston School Bus Union 5 and Local 8751.

The 635 school bus drivers staged the strike in protest of tight driving schedules, lack of bathroom breaks, the elimination of Daily Bus Reports and extensive payroll problems, according to organizers.

Veolia said drivers who did not report to a dispatch window on Oct. 8 received letters of reprimand, Michael said.

“…No way are my brothers going to be fired, and no way will 800 of us be given written warnings, and no way that we are going to stop standing up for our rights,” said driver Richard Lynch.

While supporters demanded the reinstatement of the fired workers, others seemed less sympathetic.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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