Richmond County bus drivers upset over pay cuts, some resign

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Monday, Sept. 23rd, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Some Richmond County School bus drivers are saying this might be the end of the road for them after learning of a pay-cut.

They say it came as a huge surprise and these cuts will end up costing them a lot of money.

"At first we thought we were gonna get our little pay raises this year," said Driver Caroneta Williams. "I knew it wasn't gonna be much but every little bit helps."

She's been driving for Richmond County for 15 years and says Friday she received news she didn't expect.

"It was kinda shocking," she said.

Each driver was given a memo. William's memo cut her run times 15 minutes a day. It might not sound like a lot, but in terms of her paycheck, it's a lot more.

"By cutting me 15 minutes a day we're looking at anywhere between about 200 to 250 dollars," she explained.

With just one paycheck a month that means Williams is facing some big decisions.

"I have bills. I have to worry about getting back and forth to work and now I've got make the decision about whether I'm going to put gas in my car to get back and forth to work or purchase my medication," said Williams.

Many others feel the same way. At a meeting Sunday night around 50 drivers showed up to talk about their frustrations.

"A lot of us were upset and a lot of them wanted to leave, walk out," said Williams.

"It's a time bomb ticking. Those 50 drivers did not want to roll [Monday] morning," said former driver Sallie Thomas who's with the Local 239 union. "They're pay has been cut over and over and over again."

They say it's an issue they've brought to the administration multiple times.

"They just tell us we're disgruntled bus drivers, but we're not. We're not disgruntled. We're hurt, we're angry and we're trying to figure out how we're going to take care of our families," said Williams.

She says it they can't do that, "They may end up losing a lot of good drivers."

Williams says four bus drivers have resigned since getting the news. We reached out to the transportation department and the superintendent for comment but did not hear back from either one Monday.

The drivers are planning to meet again at 6pm on October 7th at Henry Brigham Center. They hope to be able to come up with a solution with the school system, but they say if not who knows what will happen. Some of the drivers are already looking for other jobs.

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