Beaufort Bus Workers Could Strike - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Beaufort Bus Workers Could Strike

1-29-13 -

A bus driver strike in the lowcountry?

It could be a real possibility by the end of this week.

Bus workers in Beaufort County may strike if they don't reach a deal this week with Durham Bus Services

Beaufort is one of three districts in the state that outsources part of its bus service to Durham, and all three are in contract negotiations this week. Beaufort officials tell NEWS 3 that about half of its drivers are in the teamsters union which could spell trouble if there is a strike since more than half of the students in the district ride the bus.

"There are 20-thousand students in Beaufort County and a little more than half ride the bus to school at least one way each day," said Jim Foster, spokesman for the BCSD.

And one of those students is the daughter of Bluffton man, Walter Arlt who says riding the bus is pretty much the only feasible way for her to get to school.

"Right now it is because I am a single parent. So I wait for her to get on the bus then I go to work, and then usually a family member gets her from school......so without a bus it kind of puts a bind on not only me but my family member who helps take care of her."

And although the district isn't involved in negotiations they understand the concern from parents.

"It's definitely a concern, and we know it's a concern for parents, but we hope as long as the union and the bus company continue to talk they will be able to do something," said Foster.

Arlt says if there is a strike it really could have a big impact on his daily life.

"It just means that I am going to have to call and tell my employer that I'm going to be late getting to work, because I'm going to have to go wait in line at school to drop her off, and the line's already out to 170 in the morning. I mean it is what it is if they want to strike, but they gotta understand that if they strike they're putting a lot of us parents in a bind."

That bind could be put on the school district since nearly half of its drivers are in the union.

"We have 200 drivers in the district that work for Durham, in the event of a strike Durham assures us we will be able to get students to and from school each day," said Foster.

Durham's contingency plans include bringing in drivers from other states and opening up advertising for new drivers.

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