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School bus drivers’ union, Durham agree to 30-day contract extension

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Hours after the school bus drivers' union voted down Durham's latest contract offer, the two agreed to a 30-day extension of the current contract.

Both also agreed to continue negotiations in private.

Full joint statement:

Durham School Services and Teamsters 984 have agreed to a 30 day extension of the current agreement covering Durham’s employees serving Shelby County Schools.  In addition to the 30 day extension of the current agreement, both sides have committed to continuing negotiations.  The negotiations will resume in private with both parties agreeing to withhold further public comment so progress can be made at the bargaining table.

When the more than 50 percent of union members voted against the contract offer, leaders said it wasn't about economics, but rather the language in the contract.

Union President Terry Lovan said the bus drivers who voted the deal down feel disrespected by the contract, and they wouldn't get behind the wheel until that changed.

“It’s not a job at the bottom of the barrel, we’re asking for dignity and respect," he said.

Union leaders also said they were willing to sit down again before Monday to work out a deal with Durham, which led to the current contract's extension.

"If we have to, and they are willing to go back to the table we will do that between now and Monday morning," Lovan said after the proposed contract was rejected.

The bus company, on the other hand, had said the latest contract was their last, best, and final offer.

Ed Houston is one of the unionized bus drivers for local 984. He said Thursday 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.

He said, "We are not hauling boxes or cargo we are hauling life."

Houston said the meeting Friday afternoon was intense and emotional, and his drivers felt discouraged. He also said they wouldn't budge until a better contract was presented.

"We are not looking forward to or are we expecting to go out on strike. We expect to go back to the company and work things out," he said.

Durham is the company that MCS used to bring kids to school. 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.

When WREG asked Thursday if the drivers would strike if they voted down the contract offer, Lovan replied, “It’s a possibility."

The contract extension has ended that possibility, at least for now.


  • whoyoukiddin

    They should have had contracts no later than June 1st. This is the Shelby County School system for you. Can’t even make sure they have bus drivers until a couple of days before school starts. Think about the idiots you are voting for to run your school district.

  • Elwood Suggins

    If a strike takes place, the contract between the city and Durham should be null and void. The city needs to contact the next highest bid and specify that there will be NO union labor and to go to work immediately.

  • Bob

    “We axe that you respect us for what we do.” All I’ve seen you do is extort for more money. FIRE THEM ALL AND HIRE NEW DRIVERS!

    • David

      Ok Bob I Don’t See You Jumping In Line To Work As A Bus Driver They Can.t Find Drivers Because Not Every Body Wants To Drive A School Bus. Bet That If They Fired You And Your People At Your Job You Would Say The Same Thing.

  • Mary J

    I guess it’s time for Durham to find new bus drivers .. Contract ended .. contract over .. “Let’s move”

  • SayMore

    Wonder what language is causing the union such concern that it is creating a potential “hailstorm” if the words cannot be made more palatable. Just curious, and I’d like to know how it truly relates to the safety and well being of our children riding the buses.

  • How are those union dues working for ya America?

    Send them Union workers over to Union Hostess Cupcakes. Whoa that union is busted. Maybe they can go to Union Kelloggs. Whoa them be racists out there. How about working for Union city of Memphis. Uh-oh that health care insurance is thru the roof what with Obama lying and all and next month them pensions most likely gonna be 401k’s. GM, Government Motors, may be hiring and when they go broke the taxpayer pays big time for that Union bailout. Cant go to Wisconsin coz that State Supreme Court ruled against them Unions yesterday. Nothing like someone starting a company, risking their own money, working 24/7 for years and a bunch of employees coming in and telling the one who risked everything, you gonna pay us what we want or you aren’t going to have any workers. Oh yeah. Ask them high dollar traffic controllers about that. We are now into Socialism/Marxism for over 50 years and as Rev Wright, Obamas Pastor, done said: Dem Chickens coming home to roooooost!! Come join the rest of us peons Union Workers, join the ones who have been paying your Union wages and benefits lo these many years. Ya done took all our money and the kettle is dry. Better think twice coz those WalMart/McDonald wages don’t go far, and those EBT cards are getting harder to come by.

  • Gonebabygone

    While there will be hiccups learning new routes with such short notice, I doubt there will be any trouble filling empty buses with people with the proper license endorsement who happen to be looking for a job. No one is irreplaceable anymore.

    • David

      Do You Know All The Training That A Bus Driver Has to Go Though. Not Everyone Can Drive A Bus Anymore.

  • P Russert

    End the contract in 30 days and move on Durham .. take this 30 days to start looking for new help .. I know 2 people with CDL licences right now looking for work… .. If they can drive a semi they can drive a bus …

    • David

      A Felon Can Drive A Big Rig But Not A School bus They Have To Have A Clean Background Check That Shows Them Not A Felon

  • Non Biased

    There should be a sense of duty with some jobs and professions that should be considered before the job is even accepted.

  • cjack

    Seems to me, the earlier posts have left out an important message! I DON’T WANT MY CHILDREN DRIVEN BY ‘JUST’ ANY OLE’ CDL DRIVER! How’s that for a start. LIVES not cargo. Smh.

  • poolgirl2

    Seriously, how many kids live more than a mile from their schools? Ever heard of carpooling, walking, walking bikes, public transportation (bus cards)? Don’t public school parents have any responsibilities for assisting in their kids’ education? Taxpayers provide, schools, teachers, books, supplies, breakfast, lunch, backpacks, and a fleet of busses with disgruntled drivers who have to video the kids so no body gets killed or beaten up, including the driver. Wise up, put the onus on the parents to get their kids to school and fire the bus company! Put the money into public transportation and it serves EVERYONE.

    • Gonebabygone

      Our elementary school posted carpool index cars of available parents at registration. It gave their name, the number of kids they could carry and their address and phone number. You went home and called a few near you to see if you could get a seat. Any child in the school could get a ride with any parent that offered carpooling.

      It was a decent system but with sue happy people today, it might become a huge liability. Still safer, to me, than the buses. Seat belts, air bags, and far fewer kids that might start a fight.


    Way to Durham first day of school and how many kids showed up late. We waited for 30 minutes and the bus did not show. Had to drive my Daughter to school and get stuck in the long lines. After she got out I could see buses still lined up and down the streets for blocks. I understand your point but do not take it out on the kids.

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