Westport Country Playhouse presents ROMEO & JULIET, October 31-November 19
Buy your tickets now, Stand Up for Homes with Hope, Hasan Minjaj, November 4, 2017
Quick Center at Fairfield University
Your 24/7 News Source

Friday, September 26, 2008

School Bus Drivers in Contract Negotiations

Email Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

By James Lomuscio

Though Westport’s schools superintendent warned parents today of a possible bus drivers’ strike Wednesday morning, a bus company official says contract negotiations are progressing for the 75 drivers serving the Westport area.WestportNow.com Image
Buses lined up at the Dattco school bus depot on Westport’s Post Road East today. A contract affecting 75 Westport drivers expires at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“There’s no strike set for Wednesday,” said Cliff Gibson, senior vice president of operations for New Britain-based Dattco.“Our contract expires at the end of September, and we have bargaining sessions set for Monday and, if necessary, Tuesday.

“At this time I would say both sides are at the table, and the talks are progressing,” he added.

An e-mail message from Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon to parents, however, gave the impression that a United Food and Commercial Workers Union strike is a strong possibility.

“If, in fact, collective bargaining between the bus company and the driver’s union fails at the expiration of the bus driver’s contract with Dattco at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1, THERE WILL NOT BE BUS SERVICE to transport your children to and from school beginning Wednesday morning,” Landon said.

The e-mail went on to ask parents to arrange for their children’s transportation if a strike occurs.

“I urge you to consider forming car pools during this critical period,” Landon said, adding that the Westport Police Department has arranged to provide additional traffic officers “to direct traffic at high volume locations to ease the strain of traffic on our local roads and at each of our school sites.”

Though Gibson, whose company employs 800 drivers statewide, seemed to think there would be no strike, he did not fault the school district for overreacting.

“They’re being responsible,” he said. “They’re letting parents know in the event there is any interruption. It’s merely a precaution on their part.”

The precautions include earlier start times, a modified dismissal schedule and the cancellation of all before and after-school activities for the elementary schools.

“In the event of a strike, to accommodate the increased automobile traffic that is anticipated with parent drop-offs in the morning and pick-ups in the afternoon, drop-offs at Bedford and Coleytown Middle may be made as early as 7:30 a.m,” Landon said.

“However, we will maintain our regular starting and ending times for classroom instruction not only at Bedford and Coleytown Middle School, but also at Staples.”

If a drivers’ contract is negotiated before 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Landon said all student families will be notified via e-mail. A message will also be placed on the school’s information line, 341-1766.

If there is no settlement before 5 a.m., he added, parents will be notified to make alternative arrangements.

A call to a union official at Local 371 in Westport was not immediately returned.

Posted 09/26/08 at 11:04 PM


Comment Policy

Please be advised that it was decided among the Principals and the Superintendent that at the elementary schools, it is crucial that students are connected with and go home with the appropriate adult at the end of the school day.

In looking at the logistics of connecting 500+ children in each school to parents/care-givers at the end of the school day, the elementary school principals and the superintendent felt it was important that the elementary schools have adequate time to accomplish this in a measured, safe manner.  Thus, the decision was made to have the elementary schools run their short-day schedules during a possible strike.

This will enable students to stay in classrooms with their teachers and for the administration to ensure that students and parents are connected at the end of the day in a safe manner, which may take considerable time, given 500+ students.  If we were to run a full day during the possible strike, most teachers and paraprofessionals would not have been available to assist with the dismissal of 500+ children to their parents, as many of our staff would have needed to leave at the end of their regular work day to care for their own children.  Again, the short day schedule enables us to care for our students and reconnect them to their parents at day’s end in a safe, measured way.”
Hope this helps explain why it was decided to have shortened day, we are still hopeful that the negotiations currently underway will result in no bus strike.
Thank you for your understanding,

Theanne Feldman and Gina Beranek
Co-Presidents PTA

Posted by chip stephens on September 28, 2008 at 11:45 PM | #

Any update yet ??

Posted by Tom Feeley on September 30, 2008 at 04:44 PM | #

You need to Register and be logged in to post comments. If you are already registered but are not logged in, you can Login here.





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please note by clicking on "Submit" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Inappropriate posts may be removed.

<< Back to main

Register / Log in

Registration is required to post comments.
Sign Up  •  Login
Comment Policy

Earthplace, Westport CT - Our mission is to build a passion in our community for nature and the environment through education, experience and action. Bereavement support for grieving families and loved ones: Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, 800-898-HOME WestportNow Year in Pictures 2015 Give to Public Schools in Need! - Go to DonorsChoose.org

Support a classroom.
Build a future.