Beaufort bus drivers OK strike at Durham

      BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) - Durham School Services drivers in Beafort County voted 93-2 to authorize a strike. The county's drivers joined Charleston and Dorchester counties.

      "We had to take a strike vote to get Durham to get serious in negotiations. We've met over 39 times with the contractor and they hadn't moved on the key issues of concern to the drivers and monitors," said L.D. Fletcher, President of Local 509.

      "I've been transporting kids for 20 years and I care about my kids. We have real concerns and the strike vote shows how much the drivers and monitors support our union in trying to resolve the difficult issues we're facing with the company," said Elisa Nix-Jones, a Durham driver and Teamster shop steward in Beaufort.

      Negotiations between Teamsters Local 509 and Durham are currently scheduled to continue on Tuesday, Jan. 29, according to officials.

      The union reports there are about 620 Teamsters Local 509 members at Durham in Charleston, Dorchester and Beaufort counties.

      Durham is a subsidiary of National Express Group, a profitable multinational corporation based in the United Kingdom and the second-largest provider of student transportation services in the United States.