Charleston, Dorchester 2 school buses currently running regular routes, union negotiations to resume

Durham School Services bus drivers leave Buist Academy with students Tuesday afternoon. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 1/22/13 Buy this photo

Charleston and Dorchester 2 school buses are currently running their regular morning and afternoon routes.

Neither district was notified of a planned bus driver strike for today, so both are following normal transportation schedules.

Meanwhile, negotiations are slated to resume today between the drivers’ union and their employer, Durham School Services. Neither side has specified which district will be discussed, but the biggest issue has been drivers’ pay..

Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley said school officials will meet every morning to assess the situation and review new iformation. The district has had about 50 people apply for bus driver positions, and 26 were eligible for interviews.

Parents are encouraged to continue to make alternative arrangements should drivers strike. McGinley said parents can call (843) 745-4101 for information on CARTA routes.

On Monday, Beaufort County drivers became the third and final contingent of the local Teamsters union to authorize their leadership to call a strike.

Teamsters Local 509 represents Charleston, Dorchester and Beaufort drivers, and all but two voting union drivers in those districts have voted in favor of authorizing a strike in recent weeks.

“We had to take a strike vote to get Durham to get serious in negotiations,” said L.D. Fletcher, Teamsters Local 509 president, in a statement. “We’ve met over 39 times with the contractor and they hadn’t moved on the key issues of concern to the drivers and monitors.”

All local districts now are poised to stop work should they dislike their new employment contract with Durham.

The negotiations will last three consecutive days, and the talks will focus on a different district each day.

Until a deal is reached, drivers could choose to strike.

Parents have created a Facebook page for updates and as a way to communicate ride share opportunities.

Follow The Post and Courier (@postandcourier) and Diette Courrege Casey (@Diette) on Twitter using the hashtag #chsbus for the latest updates.

Check back with The Post and Courier for the latest information, and follow @Diette on Twitter for education news.

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