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Unionized school bus drivers authorize strike in Beaufort Co. - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Unionized school bus drivers authorize strike in Beaufort Co.

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BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

Durham School Services drivers and monitors in Beaufort County have voted overwhelmingly, 93-2, to authorize a strike.

They join drivers and monitors in Charleston and Summerville's Dorchester School District 2 who voted unanimously in recent weeks to also authorize a strike.

The drivers and monitors, members of Teamsters Local 509 in Columbia are seeking a fair contract from Durham that values their hard work and secures decent and safe working conditions in transporting area schoolchildren.

"We had to take a strike vote to get Durham to get serious in negotiations. 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," said L.D. Fletcher, President of Local 509.

"I've been transporting kids for 20 years and I care about my kids. We have real concerns and the strike vote shows how much the drivers and monitors support our union in trying to resolve the difficult issues we're facing with the company," said Elisa Nix-Jones, a Durham driver and Teamster shop steward in Beaufort.

Negotiations between Teamsters Local 509 and Durham are currently scheduled to continue on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

There are about 620 Teamsters Local 509 members at Durham in Charleston, Summerville and Beaufort.

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