United Service Workers Union 138-50 Queens Boulevard
Briarwood, NY 11435
Tel: (718) 658-4848
Fax: (718) 523-5722
Hero Bus Driver Reinstated
USWU Business Agent Troy Anderson (l) with Local 355 member George Daw (r)George W. Daw, 58, a direct descendant of one of the signers of the Constitution, is a proud family man. One of his sons is in college studying criminal justice with the aim of becoming a police officer. His other son plans to join the Navy. Daw grew up in the Bronx and later moved to West Babylon. Daw became a member of USWU Local 355 when he took the job as driver for special needs children with Educational Bus in November of 2010.
Monday, August 1st started like any other ordinary work day. Daw dropped his young passenger off at school. The weather was inclement, but there was no indication it was going to become extreme or dangerous during the course of the day. But later that afternoon, upon picking up his student passenger, the sky grew ominously dark. Torrential rain, accompanied by lightning, suddenly turned into golf ball sized hail. The hailwas so large it was causing damage to his vehicle, denting the hood of the bus.
But Daw didn’t panic; knew he had to proceed. He had a job to do and a passenger to return safely home. He proceeded with caution.
It was then he encountered a vehicle in distress. The floodwaters were rising and the hail was becoming increasingly larger and more dangerous. Vehicles were driving into the flood and stalling. It was chaos everywhere, and he knew if he delayed any longer, they would be stranded there. He watched as a vehicle comparable to his own made it safely through the flooded area and concluded he would be able to make it through to safety before the water rose any higher and put him, his child passenger and the matron that accompanied them in danger.
He encountered several stranded drivers along the way, many of whom were panicking and asking for a ride. Unfortunately, Daw had to deny them entry to the vehicle because the bus company’s policy prohibited this, though having to make such a difficult decision distressed him deeply.
But then he came upon another stranded vehicle; it’s occupants waving their badges frantically. They were police officers being called to duty during this weather emergency. They needed quick transportation to their precinct. Knowing no citizen could in good conscience refuse a ride to the police during an emergency, he let them on board and dropped them off at the nearby 3rd Precinct, where they expressed their gratitude and rushed off to deal with the emergency at hand.
Now Daw had to return to the business of bringing his passenger safely home. Everywhere he went emergency vehicles barred his way. Nevertheless, he delivered his passenger safely and made his way with caution back to the bus yard.
In keeping with company policy, Daw reported the incident to his employer. Shortly after, he was given notice of termination. After taking a few days to digest what had just occurred Daw called USWU Local 355 President John Ames, who assigned veteran Business Agent Troy Anderson, Director of USWU’s Transportation Division, to intervene on Daw’s behalf and rectify the situation. Daw was confident that the Union and Mr. Anderson would make things right.
Subsequently, there was a grievance hearing. Once the union had all the facts, the case was straightforward. Daw was impressed with the professionalism, knowledge and perseverance of the Union and Mr. Anderson in particular, despite the fact that the bus company was holding fast on their decision to terminate him. But the Union knew its position was solid, and never wavered in their defense of Daw’s actions that day. With the Union by his side, the company agreed to reinstate George Daw and “make him whole.”
George Daw has this message for union brothers and sisters across the nation: “When you’re up against an unfair situation and you know you’re right, you can count on the Union to have your back.” Once he enlisted the help of his Union, the matter was resolved within 72 hours of his conversation with John Ames.
USWU supports Mr. Daw as he returns to work, triumphant.
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