Blue Bird Workers Ratify First Contract as USW Members

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,

(Macon, Ga.) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that more than 1,500 members at Blue Bird Corp.’s Fort Valley, Ga., facility overwhelmingly ratified a first union contract that provides significant wage improvements, promotes respect on the job, institutes a profit-sharing system and secures vital health and safety provisions.

While the three-year deal will provide all workers with at least 12 percent in raises, some of the lowest paid will see increases of more than 40 percent. The contract also delivers needed retirement security with the establishment of a defined contribution plan, as well as a platform for workers to address concerns regarding civil rights, health insurance costs, public policy, creation of new jobs and more.

“Workers at Blue Bird organized because they needed a voice on the job,” said USW District 9 Director Dan Flippo, who represents workers in Georgia and six other Southern states. “Thanks to their solidarity and hard work, they made significant gains that will benefit them now and lay a firm foundation for further progress well into the future.”

Blue Bird workers make school buses, including low-emission and zero-emission models, and the company has been approved to receive significant funding through the EPA’s Clean School Bus program.

“Federal investments like these must come with a seat at the table for workers,” Flippo said. “Our union has a long history in the South fighting for better wages and working conditions in a variety of industries, but for too long, corporations and their political cronies have tried to characterize the South as a place where they could run away from unions, cut corners and pay workers less.

“Workers at Blue Bird are helping to change the narrative. All workers deserve fair treatment. A union contract like the one at Blue Bird is the best way to seize that future.” 

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations. For more information:


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Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
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Pittsburgh, PA 15222