MIDDLE COUNTRY — The Middle Country School District Bus Drivers Unit is banding together to stand up to the Middle Country Board of Education, which is proposing to contract out bus driver positions.
According to a recent Request for Proposals, private bus transportation companies are submitting their bids to take over the Middle Country bus drivers’ pick-up and drop-offs. If the Board decides to contract out the current bus runs, more than 65 CSEA-represented drivers will lose their jobs with the district.
Once unit members heard about the school board’s plans, they leaped into action.
“We’re trying to notify the public with fliers and social media,” said Middle Country Transportation Unit President John Meyer. “We’re encouraging parents and other community members to attend school board meetings to speak on our behalf. We’re also showing our union solidarity by attending district board meetings as a group.”
For unit members, there is a personal connection to the community where they serve.
“To the community, we’re family,” Meyer said. “We treat the kids like they’re our own.”
Always going the extra mile, unit members keep a watchful eye on district children to ensure their safety.
“If a kindergarteners’ parents aren’t home, we’ll drive around the block to give their parents some time to arrive,” Meyer said.
While our members typically give this strong level of caring for the children, this could be lost if the district contracts out the drivers, who would have no emotional connection to the students.
It seems that community members are responding well to the unit members’ outreach.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the public,” said Middle Country Transportation Unit Vice President Cynthia Giovinco. “A lot of parents don’t want to see us leave.”
— Wendi Bowie