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Speak Out: Strike Looms for Unionized, but Privatized School Bus Fleets

With the privatization of three Lowcountry bus fleets, the workforce has since unionized and is now threatening a strike due to stalled negotiations.

Privatizing government services has long been lauded by conservatives, but with privatization of three S.C. school district bus fleets now comes the threat of a union strike — a sticking point for many Republicans that see unions as a relic of the past and unneeded. 

While South Carolina is a right-to-work state, there are unions in the public and private sector. However, public-sector unions have little negotiating power as many government bodies will not bargain with them in the state.

South Carolina has three privatized school bus systems under Durham School Services: Beaufort County School District, Charleston County School District and Dorchester County School District Two. Other districts have looked to follow suit and there was proposed legislation to privatize all of the state's fleets. The legislation stalled in committee last year.

Now all three privatized districts have employees represented by Teamsters 509, and all three could enact a strike.

This week, Charleston County laborers authorized a strike as negotiations stalled. Strike-authorization votes for Beaufort County and Dorchester Two will be held at a later date. 

Tens of thousands of public school children could be affected by a strike. A school bus driver strike is now gripping New York City. Click here to read more

The question: Was privatizing the school bus fleets the right answer now they are subject to unionization and striking? 

stanley seigler January 19, 2013 at 10:58 PM
PS THE RESULTS of GOP regression: 1929 depression and 2008 recession. oh/and joe knows jack crap...proof: for a start he confused public and private sector unions and he is an x-teamster... and guess who the bus drivers are represented by? would you believe, Teamsters 509...joe should get know his union bros before he bans them. full disclosure: not now or ever a union member or employee...but had excellent relations with building trades unions...just a matter of mutual respect and fairness... competed w/ nonunion shops; paid over scale (shared profits); and found work for old folks who had slowed down...jobs still made good profit.
JoSCh January 20, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Did you read the second sentence of my post before you responded to the first sentence, Robert Kelly? Being "in a union" doesn't make a situation better just as it doesn't make a situation worse. They have a place, but our government would be more cost effective if unions weren't required inside it's framework. And it's a failure of the government to fulfill it's mission when they are.
Robert Kelly January 20, 2013 at 04:05 AM
JoSCh, yes, I did read your entire post before responding. Although it would be great if unions weren't necessary, they have been and will continue to be necessary. So, in my opinion, the unions must be allowed to exist. You might think they are less efficient than non-union workplaces, but why should any group of employees be denied the right to organize? Government workers are people, and they are workers.
reg January 20, 2013 at 04:30 AM
Josch, I think I get the sentiment of your comment that public unions shouldn't be allowed, and because the employer of those public unions could be the picture-perfect example to follow (it being the govt itself). However, i find too many instances in which public employees are openly disregarded and disrespected. This happens most in state gov positions -- take our police force, for example, and teachers, too. Greatly underpaid and restricted from representation in both cases. And when it happens to gov employees, private industry takes that for use as excuses to duplicate such mistreatment. The government needs to set example -- especially in this case of labor.
JoSCh January 20, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Yes, reg, that was what I meant. Today's unions add overhead unless you're talking about a union of lawyers and that can only mean inefficiency. The government already has excessive overhead and from my experience in the DoD often the unions and existing government overhead would be duplication of function. Gov't employees should be (and often are, in my experience anyway) compensated prevailing wage and standard benefits. They shouldn't *need* a union, the gov't should be fair. That was my point.

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