Local 721
History, Local 261
Since the very beginning, TWU Local 261 has strived to become one of the most prominent locals in the Southwest region, representing the Houston Independent School District School Bus Operators and Service workers. It was organized through many obstacles and much adversity. Local 261 was established during a time when choosing to organize wasn't the most popular option, but it was a necessary decision, which has proven to be the right choice. With undying loyalty and sustaining determination, Local 261 continues to grow and serves as a blueprint for younger locals to model. With a wealth of knowledge and timely innovation, Local 261 moves forward into the new millennium steadfast. Facing a future that will be highlighted throughout its existence.

In the year 1979, in Houston, Texas, a small group of employees for HISD desired better. And on June 27, 1980, Local 261 was chartered. Being considered as second-class individuals was no longer acceptable to this fearless group of employees who made a personal commitment to make a change. Now with the voice of TWU of America, Local 261 has been fortunate enough to have union officials who truly care about the betterment of salary increases, working conditions and mutual respect in the work environment. Leonard Kirk, the first president of Local 261, followed by Lois Cravey, succeeded by Fred Hamilton, and current President Alice Owens, are pioneers who pave the way along with a host of other union officials too numerous to name, but all whom sacrifice countless hours and endured tireless efforts, not only for the membership of Local 261, but for all the school bus drivers and maintenance employees. Believing that making Local 261 available to those individuals who are not union members is one sure way to increase membership, one employee at a time. TWU Local 261 steadily increases it membership. It is with this optimism and drive that has assured continued success.

TWU has always provided avenues to educate the membership and encouraged each member to know their rights. We also emphasize the importance of contacting your local office. All union officials are required and eager to learn the many valuable aspects of maintaining a union office. There are also several stewards training seminars given yearly to reinforce and inform the stewards, as they come in contact most with the membership. Reconciliation begins with first contact, and each of our members trusts us with their livelihood. Trusting Local 261 to do everything feasible, including going the extra mile to enhance job security. It is our responsibility to assure that every individual who holds a position in Local 261 is knowledgeable of correct procedure and protocol.

Local 261 offers many opportunities and has achieved many accomplishments. Local 261, through TWU of America presents fifteen four-year scholarships to the sons and daughters of TWU members each year, low interest Mastercard, home mortgage program, and job related legal advice. TWU also provides legislative support, economic research, public relations and safety programs that are advantageous to the members of TWU. It pays to be a member of TWU of America. Local 261 is also one of the first unions to initiate the Consultation Process, which allows union officials to meet with management officials, on a monthly basis, to discuss and ratify issues and concerns, with the unified goal of alleviating problems at ground zero. We also make recommendations, which are beneficial to both parties. Members of Local 261 exude pride and dedication and are ranked among the highest paid school bus operators nationally. Direct constant communication between the workforce and management, play an essential role in creating a more positive working relationship. Built on respect and mutual courtesy.

Today TWU of America, Local 261 still adheres to the standards set by our predecessors. Union meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at 2506 Sutherland, off Telephone Road. Only by acknowledging our past can we presently make determinations and prepare for our future. The members of Local 261 are the wheels that keep HISD in motion, and Local 261 will continue to strive for excellence.

"We Carry America's Most Precious Cargo"