Thousands of children were left stranded after a wildcat strike by drivers protesting measures by a new company, Veolia Transportation.
The bus drivers, who recently signed a contract, were protesting measures taken by the city’s new transit partner, Veolia Transportation, that they said impinged on their ability to do their jobs.
Officials representing the bus drivers said Veolia had changed their work conditions and failed to alert them to new route information, often making them late. Drivers were unhappy with changes in their health care plan and also said they did not like a new smartphone app that allows parents to track the location of the buses.
Mr. McDonough confirmed that the bus-tracking app, which uses a GPS system, was at least part of the issue.
“The union had objected to our implementing this type of technology,” he said.
The smartphone app was unveiled recently as a way for parents to know more precisely when the buses would be arriving and as a safety measure in case of accidents or other problems. But the drivers saw it as too much “Big Brother” control over them and demanded on their union Web site: “Stop employer abuse of anti-labor Global Positioning System spy devices.”
This is an odd situation. How’s this for a experience design failure? While the parents’ experiences might be better, the bus drivers see the GPS as an impinging upon their experience. Are they really paranoid about “Big Brother”-like intrusion, or are they more afraid what their bosses will do with that data—perhaps reduce their bonuses based on the number of minutes they start late, or require the bus drivers to start their days at a too-exact a time and then not pay them for the additional time & effort required to guarantee that exact time…
Generally, I don’t think “Big Brother” is really a concern here, it’s really the additional efficiency. Employees might agree to specific terms, but the lax measuring their efforts is built-in to the actual tasks they need to accomplish. If that measuring becomes more precise, their job changes, even if the description hasn’t.