WEST BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) – It was a short but vocal demonstration as some Oakland County school bus drivers walked the picket line on a chilly Wednesday morning.
The drivers employed by private contractor Durham School Services, the transportation company serving the West Bloomfield School District, chanted, “Do we want a contract? Yes we do!” as they marched in front of the bus garage on Orchard Lake Road, between Commerce and Cass Lake Road.
Union representative Aaron Schopesh said, frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations, they were holding what’s called an “informational picket” to draw attention to their situation.
He said, while the bus drivers do remain on the job, they’ve been working without a contract for several months.
“Unfortunately, bargaining has proved difficult,” he told WWJ’s Mike Campbell. “It’s also proved difficult because we’re dealing with an out-of-state employer that has to send an attorney from out-of-state to the table.”
Although one of the issues at play is the drivers being asked to pay out-of-pocket for their own health care, Schopesh said the dispute is not just about money.
“This is not about wages or insurance benefits; it’s about trying to get these members fair working conditions,” he said.
The group said they’re going into bargaining Wednesday for the first time since September, and they’re hoping to get contract details worked out as soon as today.