Transportation workers authorize work action against Durham School Services in Cumberland
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Bus drivers, monitors and aides have voted to authorize a work action against Durham School Services, which services Cumberland Public Schools, Providence Mayoral Academy and Blackstone Valley Prep.
These transportation workers formed their union with UFCW Local 328 in September, in effort to build a better future for their own families and the communities they serve.
After months of cancelled and stalled negotiations to address critical health, safety and economic concerns of workers, transportation workers urge Durham School Services to begin negotiations in good faith.
According to workers, Durham has not followed proper protocols regarding temperature checks of students at bus stops, have not trained workers on cleaning protocols, health hazards associated with cleaning products, has not hired an outside company to deep clean the buses used, and has refused additional sick time to workers in the event that they contract COVID-19 or are mandated to quarantine.
Transportation workers claim Durham has “failed to meet the movement in contract negotiations”. Workers say, “After its parent company earned record-profits in 2019 amounting to over $270 million, Durham has offered up meager pay for workers who are essential for keeping our children safe. The company’s proposal offers bus monitors a rate of $11.66 an hour that would cap them at an insulting rate of $12.13 by 2023.”
Another concern is the under staffing due to Durham’s management, which has led to buses operating with no monitor or aide on-board.
Workers say they “hope that Durham will come back to the table in a more open and honest manner so that a fair agreement can be reached”.
The next date for negotiations is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th.