DeCamp Strikers Rally: $12,000, Groceries And Call For Cool

At a rally today in support of striking DeCamp employees, Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin told strikers that he has met with DeCamp’s Gary Pard and they are “working to develop a consensus to get the drivers back to work.” Giblin adds that they are hammering out a contract so DeCamp doesn’t lose riders, but he asked that cooler heads prevail.

At the rally, Giblin presented ATUofficials, Larry Hanley, International VP, and John Costa, State Business Agent, ATU NJ Joint Council, with a check in support of striking DeCamp drivers. Some $12,000 was raised at rally. Groceries were also distributed to the 105 strikers at the rally donated by various unions; Councilman Ray Greaves (pictured with Hanley, Costa and Giblin) was also at the rally.

The big issue for strikers is the loss of their pensions and that they have been working without a contract since last year. DeCamp froze this defined benefit:

The Employer shall pay into the Trust Fund established under the Trust Plan the sum of One ($1.20) forty (40) hours for every employee who reports for work. In accordance with the provisions of the pension plan, the Trustees have agreed to a monthly payout to $36.00 for all years of service.
Example: 5 years of service $180.00
10 years of service $360.00

35 years of service $1,260.00 (you max out at 35 years)

The strikers want to have their pensions to remain intact, but DeCamp has offered an $1000 lump sum. The Union’s proposed lump sum was .43 cents per check, per driver, retroactively for this year, and the coming year, for a two-year “cooling off period” if DeCamp would agree to not eliminate the pension. DeCamp rejected that proposal. Salaries for DeCamp drivers average around $50K a year ($20.68 per hour base). Cleaners make around $23K.

When Baristanet tried to get a statement from DeCamp, we were informed by security guards that Pard is not speaking to any media outlets at this time.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. (MM is on FIRE with this strike ;0) So while disagree, I applaud you being consistent and to the point.

    (Though can’t you muster a wee bit of compassion for the families of the strikers- even though they chose to strike…? ….. I think I know what your answer is going to be.)

  2. Yes, I will, Prof, when they muster up some compassion for me and all the other 7,000 or so riders and THEIR families who have been inconvenienced by this strike. Compared to some of the other posters (those who are disabled, elderly, have no one to drive them to the station, etc.), I’ve got it easy.

  3. I’ve decided – I’m going on strike too! I am not going to pay any more property taxes (since they are clearly squandering my money away) or payroll taxes (since there will be no social security when I retire at the soon-to-be bumped up required age of 70 – I am no longer going to pay into it.)

    I am also no longer going to load the dishwasher, or put toilet paper on the dispenser. THAT is IT, I have HAD it!

    Now bring me food and beer, dangit!

  4. I think someone’s bringing the cameraman beer and sausages and some fat got on the camera lens. Then he tried to wipe it off with his red union t-shirt and left a smudge. Due to his beer goggles things looked clear and up on Baristanet the fat fogged pictures went.

  5. How about some compassion for the real victims of this strike: the innocent commuters? These clowns are getting paid 50k a year for utterly unskilled labor in a lousy economy . . . and they’re whining about it?

    I remain as disgusted as ever. The unions should be supporting the commuters instead. On behalf of my husband (who will home an hour later this afternoon yet again thank you selfish slime of DeCamp) I hope they all get fired.

  6. Professor Williams,

    Do you have a single ounce of compassion for the commuters? Do you have compassion for people like my family? Why should we suffer because the bus drivers don’t want to work? Why should my husband’s have to get up half an hour earlier and come home an hour later? Why should our paid for bus tickets get declared null and void?

    My compassion went out the window the day my husband came home looking even more exhausted than ever. Thank you DeCamp bus drivers. Because making him crazy in the morning trying to guess when the bus is going to show up wasn’t enough. Nah. We have to decide we’re underpaid to do so.

    Yeah.

    The economy sucks. We’re facing massive unemployment numbers. If the bus drivers don’t like the job they’re holding well go ahead. Find another. Because I’m sure that companies everywhere are just dying to hire unskilled labor at twenty bucks an hour plus benefits.

    Or maybe not.

  7. Yeah silly me. How dare I get upset that my poor husband has a super long commute now. Or that we’re about about $50 in commuting costs because of them. My compassion shouldn’t be with my poor exhausted husband.

    Nah.

    My compassion should be with the poor bus driver. After all having a 401k is the end of the world. Having to chip in for your own medical insurance? Why that never happens to anyone! No raises in a bad economy. Why no one ever faces that problem. Only the poor picked on bus drivers. I’ll go empty out my bank account and get down on my hands and knees for even thinking that normal workplace conditions should apply to them.

    Yeah. Right.

  8. Anastacia, I used to have an over hour long commute. It’s horrible, no doubt.

    Here’s to hoping the strike ends soon and your family life can get back to normal.

  9. Ah, anastacia, why YES, I have compassion for your family. But does that mean one has to forgo what they believe is rightful pay and benefits?

    To me it’s not as easy as you are either for overpaid bus drivers or haggard commuters. The issue is whether or not the OWNERS of the company (remember them?) are paying a bargained for wage/benefit to professionals that provide a SAFE and difficult service. (You agree that bringing your loved one to and from work safely every day- by bus- is a difficult skill, right?)

    These are professional drivers- let’s not act like anyone ‘ol driver can do it.

    To that, they deserve to be paid what they feel they can get (and what they bargain for). And DeCamp is free to say no. Then they can fight it out- a strike for the workers, a lockout by management- with the commuters paying a price.

    Either way, you and your family come out on the short end of the stick. But don’t just blame the drivers without the same bile directed at the Owners.

  10. Professor Williams,

    Bus driving is skilled labor? Really? Um where. All you need is a GED and CDL. So a high school diploma and a few months of training.

    No, that’s not really skilled labor. That’s manual labor and has been for a very long time. There’s a reason that main character in the Honeymooners was a bus driver. It’s low skilled blue collar labor akin to driving a cab. Frankly given the way many DeCamp drivers drive — too fast without paying very close attention to street signs and traffic lights — it’s hardly skilled labor at all.

    Honorable work undeniably on a number of levels. But hardly deserving of being exempt from the economic forces that govern the rest of us. I am very liberal. I’ve never voted Republican in my entire life. But I’m sick to death of this nonsense. There’s no evidence that the owners are millionaires. And even if they were so what? The bus drivers are being paid 50k a year plus benefits. Hardly the kind of penury the drivers have repeatedly implied.

    They’re free to go on strike. And I’m free to tell them I think they’re selfish spoiled blackmailing brats. The only groceries I’d like to give them are a few well aimed tomatoes. I sincerely hope DeCamp fires every single one of them. Let them find an equally well paying job in this economy let alone one that doesn’t have a 401k and where raises are routinely doled out in bad economic conditions.

    I dare them.

  11. Nothing like a good liberal to decide who should be paid what (though, oddly, the owners can make whatever they like).

    But your odd idea that the ability to drive 50+ people through traffic as manual labor is just dumb.

    Would you go to home depot and hire one of those manual workers who are sometimes around to drive your husband? Yea, I didn’t think so. How about a newly minted Ph.D? No, you wouldn’t.

    However, your arrogance is typical of the “liberals” around these parts.

    (I’d have much more respect for you if you admit that these folks are highly skilled in what they do, but you don’t like the strike. But to be so dismissive of the very people that provide your family a safe journey everyday is telling.)

  12. Now we have politicians pandering to the union…ugh. The $12,000 and food is an obvious publicity stunt…the money probably came from some union war-chest.

    Will Assemblyman Giblin and Councilman Greaves help the union shake-down Decamp and us commuters for more more money?

  13. Good point, PAZ!!!

    BOOOOOO Union thugs—- Get back to work!!!!

    signed,

    — a lazy prof with tenure (Please don’t take my tenure away…..)

  14. just wait for the commotion when tenure requirements get increased (think ~25 yrs), teachers need to work according to international norms (think ‘only’ 6 weeks of summer vacation) and 401k’s are the norm for all public employees.

    This will be a huge opportunity for the young un- or underemployed youngsters with college degrees.

  15. They’re not highly skilled. A GED and a CDL is not advanced degree in physics. Just about anyone can drive a bus. It’s not that difficult. I guarantee that if they fire the DeCamp workers you’ll get a dozen people to take their place in the interim. In the meantime the real arrogance is going on strike in the middle of terrible economic times.

    The only reason they’re getting away with the strike is because they have a publically granted monopoly. The public should rescind that monopoly. No public workers should have the right to blackmail.

  16. One of the union’s complaints is that Decamp wants to turn three of their paid holidays into personal days. Those three holidays: St. Patrick’s Day, Flag Day and V-J Day.

  17. I read in the Star Ledger they also only pay $44 a month for their health care plan. Eleven bucks a week for access to health care and they’re on strike. I pay $50 a week and consider myself very lucky.

    Spoiled brats, the lot of them!

  18. anybody know what kind of benbefits NJ transit workers get? no? that’s a minimumm skill job,too, just like DeCamp. but doesn’t matter, does it? afer all part of your state taxes go to subsidize NJT. (hey, wait a minute…)

  19. There are many important jobs that are “unskilled”. The main one that comes to mind is Parent. Just because you don’t need a degree to do that job, it is incredibly important and worthwhile.
    Part of the problem with the economy is that many of the jobs that were bridges to a better life (those unskilled trade union jobs) have gone by the wayside – leaving very few ways to work, raise a family and retire with some dignity.
    Transit workers represent some of the few remaining decent blue collar workers who have a chance of sending their kids to college (with some help) while making a living – and, oh btw working very hard for it.
    A bus driver’s life span is shorter than police and firefighters.

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