Georgia Tech drivers vote for Teamsters representation

Georgia Tech's bus drivers have voted for representation by the Teamsters union.

Credit: Georgia Tech Athletic Association

Credit: Georgia Tech Athletic Association

Georgia Tech's bus drivers have voted for representation by the Teamsters union.

A group of bus drivers at Georgia Tech have voted for representation by a union.

The 46 drivers voted unanimously to be represented by the Teamsters, according to a statement from Atlanta-based Teamsters Local 728 on Wednesday.

The issues that spurred the action include benefits, job security and “equal opportunity in the workplace,” according to the statement from the 12,000-member union local.

Georgia Tech officials did not respond to several requests for comment.

The union vote comes after more than a year of generally more active labor organizing, nationally as well as in Georgia. For example, the Teamsters local has added 2,000 members during the past three years, according to Matt Higdon, local president.

The Teamsters also represent drivers at Emory University.

While many union campaigns have fallen short, some high-profile efforts have succeeded, including at some Starbucks, Apple and Amazon locations.

A handful of those campaigns have occurred in Georgia, where the environment for union organizing is considered especially challenging. That is because even after a vote in favor of a union, state law permits affected workers not to become dues-paying members of a union that is required to represent them in negotiations and defend them in workplace grievances.

Some union-management conflicts are currently rattling several high-impact pieces of the Georgia economy.

Production at much of Georgia’s film and television industry has slowed in recent months due to the writers’ union strike. Whatever happens with the writers, a nearly total stoppage is possible, since members of SAG-AFTRA, which represents film and TV actors, voted overwhelmingly earlier this month to authorize a strike if the union cannot negotiate a new contract with major studios.

Teamsters-represented employees of UPS have likewise voted to authorize a strike if negotiations fail. Sandy Springs-based UPS nationally has hundreds of thousands of drivers and package handlers.