Union bus drivers feel like hostages - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Union bus drivers feel like hostages

by Michele Catahay

Guam - Guam Federation of Teachers president Matt Rector is back in the news again, as more union members want to file complaints against him. More than just a handful of DoDEA bus drivers intend to file a formal complaint against the GFT president, namely Alutiq employees who are contracted under the Department of Defense to drive kids to and from school.

According to bus driver Ed Martinez, the union hasn't been transparent with them.  "We're not trying to quit the union, but we want a better management and according to our security costs, Guam is a right to work state. And why do we have to be in the union when we still have the right to work. This is the only company that is they call it shop closed," he told KUAM News.

The group contends that the union, through President Rector and Albert Perez (the chairman for the Alutiq school bus drivers unit) they negotiated and entered into an illegal contract. According to Ed Quintanilla, there is a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that requires the drivers to become a paying member, but that the group is questioning a security clause in the contract. He says it's been difficult to work with union members - Rector specifically. 

"I think they're holding everyone hostage," Quintanilla said.  "I think they're going about it all the wrong ways. I don't agree with their leadership at all, between Matt Rector and all those other cronies. When we go there to try to file a complaint or get any answers, it's like we have a bunch of bodyguards looking over our shoulders."

The group tried to file the complaint at the Hagatna Precinct this morning, but were told to go to the Department of Labor. After consulting with Attorney Daniel Somerfleck, they were told to go back to the Guam Police Department to file. Interviews were conducted by officers, but Quintanilla says they would need to outline their complaint before submitting it to the police department.

"It is very frustrating. We don't know what to do and we're trying to do it down to the point. We tried to write it out on what we needed to do now they said they wont accept it because it's not a government form," he said.

Quintanilla met with American Federation of Teachers representative Sol Smith last week to voice similar concerns. In the meantime, he's hoping for some kind of resolution soon.

According to a newsletter released by the GFT, the AFT has advised the union not to make constitutional amendments until the next general membership meeting on November 29. Only members and their family will be allowed. That meeting gets underway at 5:30pm.

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