Bus drivers strike over low wages

9 months ago 143
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. — Some Chesterfield County schoolhouse autobus drivers are expressing concerns astir what they telephone a shortage of drivers.

One operator told Channel 9 they person been overworked and are not seeing a wage increase.

“We request them to perceive us. We request to fto them cognize we are serious, we are invaluable employees and we request to beryllium heard,” autobus operator Melissa Gaines said.

Gaines said the territory has a superior autobus operator shortage. She said that has forced galore drivers to prime up other routes, but they inactive person to get the occupation done successful the aforesaid magnitude of time.

ALSO READ: Stanly County schoolhouse autobus drivers beryllium retired successful protestation for higher wages ]

“You drive, you got to beryllium backmost connected the batch astatine a definite time. If not, your clip stops wherever you are and you’re not getting paid for the other clip that you got to get back,” Gaines said.

The way additions and debased wages are portion of wherefore drivers went connected onslaught Monday greeting astatine Central High School. Between 10 and 20 drivers showed up astatine 6:30 a.m.

“Parents, I’m truthful atrocious that it came to this, but we person to,” Gaines told Channel 9 Monday. “We person to bash something, we person to commencement somewhere.”

“We’re not trying to upset the parents, we’re not trying to bash this to our children,” different operator said. “I tally 3 routes each morning, covering for different autobus drivers.”

ALSO READ: Local schoolhouse districts looking for solutions successful the look of wide teacher shortages ]

Gaines told Channel 9 Friday that autobus operator wages are acold excessively debased for a occupation wherever they are monitoring up to 60 kids astatine a clip portion driving.

“We got kids connected the autobus cutting up and we’re the lone ones connected the bus,” Gaines said. “We got to person eyes successful the backmost of our head. It’s truly a distraction and it’s causing a large problem.”

On Friday, territory leaders wouldn’t supply the nonstop fig of autobus operator openings to Channel 9. They did accidental they person had a spot much treble routes than normal.

Officials besides said starting wage for autobus drivers is $10.48 per hour. Pay is $14.34 astatine 20 years of driving, $14.60 with much than 21 years, and those with 22 years oregon much marque $14.86 an hour.

Leaders said drivers successful the territory marque 17% supra the state-recommended autobus operator wage rate, but Gaines said it’s not enough.

“If you’ve been driving for 20-plus years, you’ve been dedicated. And I deliberation we merit much than that.”

District officials besides talked astir overtime, saying astir drivers gain it owed to their different employment responsibilities successful the district.

Chesterfield County School District released the pursuing connection to Channel 9 successful effect to the strike:

“Chesterfield County Schools did person immoderate autobus drivers successful the Pageland country who did not study to thrust students connected Monday, Dec. 13, seemingly upset that precocious immoderate drivers had had their fig of play hours adjusted to align with a authorities audit. The nonaccomplishment of autobus drivers, however, lone caused 1 way not to beryllium tally this morning.

“Bus drivers are paid an hourly wage based connected the magnitude of their routes. A caller GPS audit of those routes by the authorities of South Carolina adjusted immoderate autobus drivers’ full hours. Due to the audit by the state, immoderate way times were increased, and immoderate way times were decreased. According to the authorities audit, immoderate routes had antecedently been paid for much hours than what they should person been.

“The medication is reviewing these changes to find if determination are immoderate discrepancies.

“Any autobus operator who believes that determination is simply a discrepancy betwixt those GPS hours provided by the authorities and their routes should talk to their contiguous supervisor to sermon those imaginable discrepancies.”

(PREVIOUS: Chesterfield County autobus drivers explicit concerns astir operator shortage, debased pay)

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