Mayor Petty Hopeful Worcester School Bus Drivers OK Contract

Aug 29, 2017

Worcester's mayor said he's hoping school bus drivers in his city vote on Wednesday to accept a five-year contract.

The bus drivers nearly went on strike this week, which could have delayed the first day of school in Worcester. But Mayor Joseph Petty said he asked union leadership to keep talking.

They did and now have a deal, although union members still must approve it.

"My understand [is] it's a good contract," Petty said. "So hopefully they will ratify it, and we won't have to worry about the buses...not running."

Petty said there's been a lot of confusion among parents, because the negotiations were actually between the union and a private bus company, Durham School Services -- not the city.

"A lot of people in the public thought these were city employees, and that we were involved, so that was a little frustrating in a sense," he said. "I wasn't at the table and I didn't know what the issues were."

The bus drivers' contract details could still have an impact on Worcester. The district pays the Durham for its services, so if the company's expenses go up, Worcester's could too. 

But Petty's office said the district's bus costs are locked in for the next three years.