School bus drivers say strike is possible before first day of class

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ed Houston is one of the unionized bus drivers for local 984.  He said many of his union’s  men and women have been carrying kids to school for 30 or 40 years with the former Memphis City Schools.

“It’s not a job at the bottom of the barrel, we’re asking for dignity and respect,” said Union President Terry Lovan.

Their contract is up with Durham, the company that MCS used to bring kids to school. But Durham also agreed to bus kids for the suburban schools in addition to the new SCS, so a problem with Durham means a problem for everyone.

Durham’s bus drivers don’t have a completed contract and their latest offer is expected to be rejected.

“If y’all vote this down, will you strike?” WREG asked.

“It’s a possibility,” said Lovan.

The news shocked parents and school leaders around the area. The suburbs have drivers who aren’t part of the union, so it’s possible they might get all their drivers Monday.

But suburban leaders say their non-union workers may have to cover for the union workers if they strike in Memphis.

“It really is incumbent on Durham to work this out with the union,” said Shelby County Board Member Shante Avant.

They only have until Monday morning to make a deal, if they don’t, bus drivers say our children’s safety could be at risk.

“Parents need to be concerned who will be behind the wheel of the bus hauling their kids,” said Houston.


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