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      Summerville bus drivers vote to authorize strike at Durham

      SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) --{}School bus drivers and monitors for Durham School Services in Summerville's Dorchester School District 2 voted 77-0 to authorize a strike.

      The drivers and monitors, members of Teamsters Local 509, joined Charleston County Durham drivers who also voted unanimously, 186-0, on Jan. 15 to authorize a strike.

      "We are having big, unanimous votes, which show the kind of treatment that these workers are getting from the company," said L.D. Fletcher, President of Local 509. "They want to be treated with respect."

      "We want to be treated fairly and to work in an environment that is not hostile to us," said Annette Hill, a driver. "We care about the children we transport."

      Teamsters Local 509 and the workers have met with Durham management 35 times since July over contract negotiations, according to a statement from the union.

      Dorchester District 2 officials said Tuesday that the district did not have any knowledge of the negotiations between Durham and the teamsters union because neither side had issued official comments to the school system about the ordeal.

      There are about 620 Teamsters Local 509 members at Durham in Charleston, Summerville and Beaufort. Beaufort Durham drivers are expected to take a strike authorization vote soon.

      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.

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