School bus drivers in Maryland held a “sick out” protest against being paid low wages and not having enough benefits.
Bus drivers who work for Calvert County Public Schools are speaking out after allegedly being instructed to work more routes without getting a pay raise. One of the drivers, Miss Koontz, says the protest was the final straw.
“It’s not getting any better for us, we’re constantly losing here,” said Koontz, who helped organize the rally. “We don’t want to get rich from this, from this job, we don’t. We’re just trying to survive. We love our children, we build bonds with our parents. All we wanna do is survive here, we just want to be treated fairly.”
Another driver by the name of Valerie Long says being allegedly overworked with no benefits is tiring. “I’ve been driving for 35 years, no retirement, and we’re just fed up with it. Enough is enough,” Long said.
One of the school board’s members, Antoine White, shared that he went to the protest in solidarity with the drivers. “If people came to the table, sat down and had positive communication, I think we’d be able to get somewhere – so there’s just a lot of frustration and what they’re charged with as far as taking our kids to school. They’re very, very important. My son‘s bus driver’s been out here, so I have love for the bus drivers,” White said.
In a statement, Superintendent Daniel D. Curry said that the school does not employ bus drivers but rather local bus contractors, the New York Post reports.
“They have not asked for meetings with the Calvert County Schools leadership team and, in fact, we have a meeting scheduled for drivers on Friday, Oct. 15 when there is no school,” said Curry. “We apologize for this inconvenience, as well as the other challenges of the bus driver shortage, and we anticipate reaching agreements soon that will prevent such action in the future.”