Parents scrambling to plan for possible bus driver strike

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County School Superintendent, Dr. Nancy McGinley urged parents to take the threat of a possible strike, seriously. She said a strike in Charleston County could happen as soon as Monday.

Durham Bus Services and the bus driver union have been trying to reach a deal. The fight is over how much drivers are paid.

Parents are now scrambling to come up with ways to get their children to and from school if a strike happens.

After receiving a letter from the school district, Jon Nelson and 4 of his neighbors came up with a plan to transport their children.  
"I contacted some other parents to get in a carpool so I don't have to drive him every day," said Nelson.
He will have to make big changes to get his 9th grader to school on time.
Nelson said, "Its 10 miles from my house, but its the opposite direction from where I work. I'd have to rearrange my schedule at work to get him there and also leave early to go pick him up."
A strike could affect the entire community as negotiations for higher pay and more benefits are still unresolved.

In a statement Friday, a spokeswoman from the bus driver union, Teamsters Local 509 said, "we are working diligently at the bargaining table to resolve this, and we appreciate all the public support. The phone calls of support from teachers, principals and parents have been overwhelming."
Nelson said, "I'll be inconvenienced, but I already have a plan in place and ready to put it into action if I need to."

The Charleston County School District doesn't have a say in the negotiations between Durham Bus Services and the Teamsters union. Durham also contracts with the Dorchester District Two and Beaufort county school districts.

A Dorchester District Two spokeswoman said they do not expect a strike soon, but are working on a backup plan. Letters will be sent home with students explaining their plan.

Unionized drivers in Beaufort County have not voted to authorize a strike.

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