“We asked them that and they said no,” Kitts said. “It’s profit over people.”
While time off is one thing the drivers and monitors are arguing for, pay increase is another.
“If you look at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the medium wage for bus drivers is $11.63. The medium wage for trash truck drivers is $12.60. I’m not taking anything away from our sanitation workers, but I think children have more value than your garbage,” Linden said.
In addition, workers are looking to get compensated for wait time, or the time between actually transporting students.
“Right now, we’ve got people that come in at 5 a.m. to get ready for their 6 a.m. drive,” Linden said. “In between routes, you can’t go home so you go to the bus barn and wait until your next route.
“We only get paid for what we drive. That’s the reason no one wants to sign up for the field trips, because they aren’t compensating us for those wait times.”
Kitts said that a raise of 20 cents per hour was offered by Durham, but that the workers turned it down in favor of a 30-cent raise, which was recently awarded to Keller drivers.
Noble stressed that some of the demands being made were more on the level of full time employees. Weatherford drivers and monitors operate on a part time basis.
“The demands being made by the union are perhaps more consistent with that of full time positions,” she said. “However, our employees are part time employees and while we value them greatly, we cannot compensate them as full time employees.”
Negotiations are scheduled to resume again Monday.