United Airlines Employee Buses Keep Bursting Into Flames.
The causes of the fires have not been disclosed by First Transit. A spokesman from United Airlines, which hires First Transit to maintain and operate the buses, said that First Transit would try to figure out why it's buses were burning down so often. First Transit is the only bus company operating at IAH that has had any of their fleet catch fire.
In response, IAM Assistant General Chairman, Jorge Bonilla, has called an emergency meeting with United Airlines Terminal Ops Vice President, Stephanie Buchanan, to discuss the issue from the perspective of employee safety. He has called on union members to report First Transit to OSHA, the Texas Department of Transportation, and file "GSAP" reports against the bus company until meaningful changes occur. GSAP reports are often used by airline employees to report safety concerns at airports. Additionally, he has appointed ATW Grievance Committee Person, Tony Colinas, to coordinate an immediate wider response. BTW Grievance Committee Chair, Victor Hernandez, has begun calling for the contract with First Transit to be terminated.
Brent Cancienne, a "Vendor Manager" at United Airlines, promised that his department would look into the underlying reasons that employee buses, with United employees and United passengers in or near them, keep bursting into flames. He promised that "United and First Transit are engaged and working to deliver a safe, reliable and clean Employee Bus Operation."
United and First Transit are certainly not providing a safe or reliable or clean employee bus operation. Employees have grown accustomed to enduring long waits for a bus, no air conditioning, broken seats and overcrowded conditions. Breakdowns are common. (And, sometimes the buses catch on fire and burn to the ground.) First Transit employees are non-union, underpaid and turnover at the company is high. These conditions (along with the fact that the buses keep bursting into flames), indicate a poorly managed company.
Brent Cancienne defends First Transit as a "reputable company," the flaming buses that they operate notwithstanding. In a letter to employees, Mr. Cancienne pointed out that "300 million" people in America do not die each year as a result of riding First Transit buses.
United Airlines maintains an email account for comments and suggestions regarding the First Transit bus service. Employees may report future bus fires, engine failures, underpaid staff, poor management and overcrowded buses to United.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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