Teamsters picket firing of bus driver

Most of the picketers were holding signs that criticized the district for its decision to terminate Bloomdahl. 
Photos by Derrick Knutson Members of Teamsters Local 320, along with others, picket outside the North Branch Area Education Center April 24 in support of recently-terminated bus driver Tanya Bloomdahl.
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Members of Teamsters Local 320, along with others, picket outside the North Branch Area Education Center April 24 in support of recently-terminated bus driver Tanya Bloomdahl.

More than 40 Teamsters who are bus drivers for North Branch Area Public Schools, along with parents and community members, picketed outside the North Branch Area Education Center April 24 to protest the termination of bus driver Tanya Bloomdahl.
Teamsters Local 320, in a press release, called the termination “unjust.”
That press release notes:
“On April 13, Independent School District No. 138 took final action to approve the termination of employee Tanya Bloomqdahl for not wearing her required apparel on April 11. Bloomdahl maintains she had proper apparel worn underneath her sweatshirt and scarf, as it was a chilly morning. The district forced the termination merely because the required apparel was not visible.
“‘The union’s position is that Ms. Tanya Bloomdahl is the victim of disparate treatment,’” says Teamsters Local 320 secretary-treasurer and principal officer Brian Aldes. ‘The punishment does not meet the necessary threshold to require a termination for the alleged insubordination.’
“Teamsters Local 320 business agent Erik Skoog has been overwhelmed with the community support for Tanya Bloomdahl.
“‘By and large, the students and parents of North Branch Area Public Schools have been supportive of Tanya and are just shocked by how she was treated,’ says Skoog. ‘What we want is for Tanya to be reinstated and made whole as an employee of the district.’”
One of the picketers, driver Nikki Huberty, said she’s known Bloomdahl for two years, and she said she’s been a model employee with the district during her tenure.
The picketers were handing out fliers that asked for “respect for North Branch bus drivers.”
The fliers noted Bloomdahl, a driver of 12 years, was “suddenly terminated for wearing the same sweatshirt she usually wore on a cold morning, something many other drivers also do.”
The flier goes on to note that drivers want the district to be consistent with its policies and due process in discipline.
The Post Review reached out to the district for a comment on the termination of Bloomdahl.
Community relations coordinator Pat Tepoorten provided the following written statement: “North Branch Area Public Schools has heard the concerns brought forward recently. The school district is restricted by data privacy law and cannot comment on a personnel issue. North Branch Area Public Schools is committed to providing safe and welcoming bus transportation for all children.”

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