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Durham School Bus Workers Ratify Contract



Durham School Bus Workers Ratify Contract

September 11, 2006

Twenty-five school bus drivers and attendants in Waterloo, Illinois recently ratified a four-year agreement with Durham School Services. The new contract provides the members of Local 50 with improved wages, seniority rights and safety protections.The new contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2006, guarantees wage increases and eliminates a tiered pay system, replacing it with compensation based on years of service.

“The old system was really bad,” said Scott Alexander, a business agent with Local 50 in Belleville, Illinois. “For a driver to move up to another tier and get paid more, another worker would have to quit or leave. It was designed to pit workers against each other.

The agreement also includes important safety language protecting workers and the children they transport.

“The language we got in the contract is critical because it says that if a bus is not safe, the driver does not have to take that bus out," Alexander said. "The driver can’t be terminated for standing up for safety.”

The Waterloo drivers and attendants previously worked for Laidlaw International with whom they were in negotiations when Durham outbid the company in May. Negotiations came to a halt when Durham took over.

“Durham came in and realized fast that they were going to have to deal with us,” said Laurie Traber, a driver with Durham in Waterloo. “They saw that we were supporting each other. They knew they couldn’t put us off or play with us for too long because we were standing together.”

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