Chesy bus drivers to vote on pact today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

CHESAPEAKE - Today, Chesapeake's bus drivers will decide to either accept the Board of Education's final offer or walk the picket line.

"We do hope, at some point, we will reach an agreement," Superintendent Samuel E. Hall said.

Both sides did participate in a three-hour mediation session Dec. 10, Karen Kuehne, Ohio Association of Public School Employees field representative said.

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Last month, Kuehne said the local 275 members had voted overwhelmingly to empower their bargaining committee to issue a strike notice to the board. Chesapeake's 14 bus drivers are the only non-certified employees that are members of the union.

Earlier, Kuehne said the matter concerned a reopener on wages and insurance that expired Oct. 4. After mediation, an impasse was declared in November, she said.

If the union members accept the board's offer, the board will vote at its regular meeting Jan. 6, Hall said.

Neither Hall nor Kuehne would disclose the board's present offer because it had not been presented to the bargaining unit as of press time.

However, last month, Hall said the union members are in the second year of a three-year contract and had been offered a 3-percent raise for the remaining two years of it. That raise would have boosted a starting driver's pay from $12.19 per hour to $12.94 per hour by the end of the second year. The maximum bus driver's pay would increase from $13.36 per hour to $14.17 per hour.

In addition, the union members' and the district's agreement of health insurance would have stayed the same. Currently, the district is obligated to pay 75 percent of the union members' health insurance. However, Hall said earlier that a clause in the contract has allowed the OAPSE members to get a higher benefit ratio if other employees negotiate a better one at a later date. Because of this, the district has been paying 80 percent of the union member's health insurance.

The union is scheduled to vote at approximately 4 p.m. today, Kuehne said.