Duval County

Union sends ‘strike authorization’ ballots to Duval school bus drivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Teamsters 512, a local union representing about 1,200 bus drivers in Duval County, has begun the process of a strike authorization vote.

The union is presently negotiating work safety conditions for bus drivers amid the COVID-19 pandemic with Student Transportation of America (STA), and Durham School Services, bus route operating companies in Jacksonville.

Teamsters 512 Business Representative, Rebecca Cardona, tells Action News Jax ballots have been sent to two of the four geographical service areas the union represents, and says ballots are due by next Monday.

”We continue to urge DCPS and the carriers, Durham and STA to put in place safe conditions to protect our members and the students upon embarking on sometimes lengthy school bus rides to and from school,” said Cardona in a statement.

“School bus drivers and attendants are entitled to a safe work environment and it is the carriers legal obligation to assure a safe work environment. Without such protections in place as of today, Local 512 is exploring all options to protect our members.”

Teamsters 512 member and UPS Shop Steward David Schneider, who did not speak on behalf Teamsters 512 in an official capacity, explained the process behind strike authorization votes.

Schneider tells Action News Jax, if a majority of respondents vote in favor of a strike, it would give union leadership the ability to call a member-approved strike, should negotiations break down in the future.

”It’s a vote on whether or not they authorize the local union leadership to call a strike in the event that negotiations break down or they reach some kind of an impasse that they cannot resolve,” said Schneider.

Action News Jax reached out to STA and Durham School Services for comment.

”We are committed to bargaining in good faith at the table, and we’re making progress,” said Durham spokesperson Edward Flavin in a statement.

When we receive a statement from STA we’ll be sure to update you.

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