School bus drivers’ union asks about protest rules, negotiations continue

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:12 a.m.
Students from Buist Academy board school buses for home on Jan. 22. The school bus drivers’ union did not make public any plans to protest but asked questions regarding the requirements on Monday. Buy this photo

The school bus drivers’ union made inquiries Monday on the requirements relative to protesting, but they didn’t make public any immediate plans to do so.

Maj. Jim Brady, spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, said the union representing school bus drivers in Charleston and Dorchester 2 asked about any permits or rules for picketing.

Brady said the county allows picketing in unincorporated areas as long as that takes place on public property, such as right of ways, and does not obstruct traffic flow. Protesters also can’t violate other laws, such as be disorderly conduct or trespassing, he said.

“(Teamsters Local 509) did not express any current plan to picket or protest,” Brady said.

Teamsters Local 509 has been negotiating with Durham School Services on a new employment contract since July. Talks heated up last week and resumed Monday, and the union has promised not to strike while discussions continue. Negotiations were scheduled through Wednesday.

Neither Teamsters nor Durham released a statement on the status of Monday’s meeting, and Charleston and Dorchester 2 officials expected buses to run their regular routes today.

Dorchester 2 Superintendent Joe Pye said he’s beginning to hear complaints from parents who say bus drivers are trying to pull children into their situation. He said drivers are telling students details about why they need a raise, and children in turn are asking their parents what they can do to help their drivers who are having a hard time, Pye said.

“The bottom line is, they are trying to generate interest, but it’s backfiring,” he said.

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