[Update: This article was posted before an extension stopped the potential for a bus driver strike.]
(WMC) - Teamsters Local 984 announced more than half of its members voted down Durham School Services' final offer, not because of economics but of the contract's language.
During a news conference, leaders said they do not expect to go on strike as they will continue negotiations through the weekend. Although, leaders have a lot to consider for the union's 500 members.
"We feel like right now unless the company and community understand how import these bus drivers are and these monitors, and what they do for the community, then it may not be another alternative but to take action like Kellogg had taken [referring recent 9-month lockout]," Terry Lovan with Teamsters said.
Teamsters union representatives said the meeting started at 11 a.m. this morning, and he expected it to take several hours to explain the contract before the vote.
The union has said if there is no agreement, it could mean no drivers for the first day of school.
"We're not looking forward to, or are we expecting to go out on strike. We're expecting to go back and talk with the company, and we will work things out but, at this point in time there are a lot of possibilities," representative Edward 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.
Houston spoke with WMC Action News 5 Thursday, so parents and students would be aware.
"We want to let them know to start now, working on an alternate way of getting them to school," he said.