(WMC) - Students and parents are getting ready for the first day of school, but bus drivers could put the breaks on a smooth start with a potential strike in the works.
A month ago the union voted to approve a strike if necessary. And as none of this is a done deal, they plan to vote on Durham School Services' final offer on Friday. If they don't come to an agreement it could mean no drivers for the first day of school.
"We want to let them know to start now, working on an alternate way of getting them to school," Teamsters Local 984 representative Edward Houston said.
He wants parents to know as they plan for Monday's first day of school. This after Durham School Services presented their final contract to the Teamsters.
"The company has taken the position that this is their final offer, we either take it or leave it," Houston said.
Union leaders are unhappy with pay, benefits, bereavement leave, bus monitors, and wording in the contract. Specifically referring to the new lots in Collierville, Bartlett, Millington, and Arlington for municipal schools. Under the new deal drivers in those lots would not be covered by union rules.
"They are toting the precious cargo, every day, and we've been doing it for 40 years. Every day," Team Local 984 President Terry Lovan said.
If the two can't come to an agreement, drivers could go on strike starting Monday, the first day of school.
"So how realistic are we that there could possibly be a strike? Realistically," Houston said.
Although that's not the goal.
"Let me go on record saying that, that's not what we want to happen, that's not what we're expecting to happen," Houston said.
National Express Corporation supporting Durham released a statement saying:
"We have reached an agreement with Teamsters 984 on a majority of items. We are continuing talks with the union and are optimistic we will reach agreement. This is the first we have heard of any intentional disruption to service and while we are disappointed with the inaccuracies released to the media, we will continue to respect the confidentiality of the bargaining process and will not bargain publicly."
In short, that means Durham and the teamsters have come to an agreement already on several terms, but there are still terms that have not been agreed upon.
The Teamsters say those could be deal breakers.