Questions on the status of negotiations and whether union school bus drivers in Charleston County and Dorchester 2 would strike went mostly unanswered Tuesday.
Virtually no new information was provided on the ongoing talks between the union representing those drivers, Teamsters Local 509, and their employer, Durham School Services. Talks between Durham and the union resumed Tuesday and will last until Thursday.
Charleston County and Dorchester 2 school officials said they hadn't been told that a strike would happen today, and they planned for school buses to run their regular routes. The drivers have authorized their leadership to call a strike.
Durham School Services did not release any new information, but a spokeswoman said she would talk with the newspaper today. Teamsters Local 509 released a brief statement saying they would let everyone know if there were any changes or developments.
“We are continuing to negotiate with the company, and we are working very hard at the bargaining table,” according to the statement.
Teamsters Local 509 President L.D. Fletcher has not returned any of the Post and Courier's phone calls for a week. A Post and Courier reporter approached school bus drivers at the North Charleston bus lot on Tuesday, but questions were deferred to union spokesmen. Drivers stood silently.
The contract negotiations have been going on since last summer, and the biggest issue is drivers' pay and benefits. The talks this week were to cover the union's contracts in Beaufort County, Charleston County and Dorchester 2.