Cherry Creek bus assistants win bid for union


AURORA | The Cherry Creek School District’s bus assistants won their months-in-the-making bid for a union with a 100% vote in support of unionization, according to a Thursday news release from the Colorado Education Association.

Now that they are officially recognized, the union will prepare to bargain their first contract this coming spring.

“The road to recognition has been a long time coming,” bus assistant Heather Music said in a statement. “Now that it’s here we can celebrate that we will now have a voice in our workplace and will be able to make things better for our colleagues and our students.”

Bus assistants work with special needs students on the way to and from school each day. Since the spring, Cherry Creek’s bus assistants have been organizing to form a recognized union, which employees said they need so they can advocate for higher pay and other benefits.

At its August meeting the Cherry Creek school board voted to create a policy for the recognition of a new bargaining unit in the district. Information in the agenda for Monday’s meeting said that the bus assistants had met the requirements for submitting authorization cards and were working with the office of human resources to set a date for an election to officially certify the union.

That took place Thursday with unanimous support, the release said, and will join bus assistants in the Jefferson County, Boulder Valley and Westminster school districts in having union recognition.

In the news release, CEA president Amie Baca-Ohlert said this is a “historic moment” for school support personnel in Colorado.

“In the midst of massive shortages happening across our state, achieving a union is a positive way to ensure we can attract and retain those who do some of the most critical work to ensure all students, no matter their zip code, skin color, or place of origin, have access to a great public school,” she said.

Along with support from the CEA, the Cherry Creek Bus Assistants United have received support from Cherry Creek’s other recognized unions along with board members and parents throughout their unionization drive. At Monday’s board meeting, parent Maureen Welch spoke about the support the bus assistants provided to her son James, who has special needs.

 “If it weren’t for them he wouldn’t have that great start and end to his day,” she said.

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