After engaging in an unfair labor practice strike today, Teamsters Local 445 has given Durham School Services an unconditional offer to return to work at the beginning of the work day on Friday morning, April 26, 2013.
The unfair labor practice strike is related to the fact that Durham did not answer a request for information from the union about issues concerning fairness and equity for workers. A similar charge was filed earlier this year that Durham settled.
The school bus workers started negotiating with Durham School Services last summer and have not yet reached an agreement. Since March, the two sides have been working with a federal mediator.
"Our unfair labor practice strike is ending as of tomorrow morning. We have made an unconditional offer to return to work. Our members will be back on the job tomorrow morning and the school buses will run as scheduled," said Teamsters Local 445 President Adrian Huff. "We hope that Durham decides to start following U.S. labor law and that we can settle this ongoing dispute soon."
Teamsters Local 445 Business Agent Lori Polesel said the two issues that remain unresolved are serious safety concerns and excessive employee turnover.
"We won't sign a substandard agreement. We want a contract that improves safety and reduces turnover," Polesel said.
Durham is a subsidiary of National Express, a highly profitable, multinational company that is based in England. Durham has had ongoing labor disputes in multiple locations across the country. In February and March of this year, Durham spent an estimated $815,850 on replacement workers in the Hudson Valley.
Huff said that drivers hope the one day action sends a message to Durham that they are very serious about their concerns and want to reach an agreement.