Cape Girardeau school bus drivers approve First Student contract

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bus drivers serving Cape Girardeau schools approved a proposed contract Wednesday night.

The new contract was approved by a majority of members of Teamsters Local 600, said president and business representative Larry Tinker.

The union represents about 70 bus drivers and aides working for First Student, the bus company that serves the Cape Girardeau School District and Missouri state schools in Poplar Bluff, Mo..

"We've felt all along as though the offers were very fair and equitable, especially considering this current economic situation we are in," said Maureen Richmond, spokeswoman for First Student, based in Cincinnati. "We are extremely pleased the union membership voted to ratify this contract."

Neither the union nor First Student would release any specific contract details.

If union members had not approved the contract and voted to strike, Richmond said, First Student had made plans to bring in licensed bus drivers from elsewhere in the region to keep the school buses running.

In recent months, the Cape Girardeau School District has been looking into the possibility of operating its own bus system. A recommendation on that is expected in March, when the district's bus service contract is up for renewal.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

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