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Alfred-Almond bus driver speaks out after seven drivers cause school to go remote

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By JOHN ANDERSON

Alfred-Almond Central School closed for in-person teaching Wednesday when seven of nine bus drivers called in, said Alfred-Almond Superintendent Tracie Bliven.

One of the drivers is speaking out with a public statement on Facebook.

Driver Aaron Kautz said “to all my AACS parents, I do apologize to you but this was a necessary evil … we will be heard.”

Bliven said in a message to parents, “I apologize for the very late notice, however; we just had 7 of our 9 bus drivers call in and we are unable to run our regular routes.  Therefore, we are having to make the decision to transition to a virtual school day.  We know this is going to cause a last-minute disruption to family arrangements, and for that, we are extremely sorry.  Thank you for your understanding.”

Kautz then countered it had to do with staff contract negotiations and drivers deserve raises that other employees have received.

Here is the full post:

“Ok so a bit more info:
No this has nothing to due with Gov’t mandates. What is at issue is the recent support staff contract negotiations and the continuing disconnect the school treats drivers with.

Last month the support staff association and union negotiated the new contract going into effect fall 2022. This association contract covers all support staff, cleaners, cafeteria, secretarial, typist, custodian, aides, bus drivers and nurse. The nurse was released from this association as part of the negotiations but the drivers were not. At the bargaining table during said negotiations there was NO bus garage employee to represent our interests.

Our contention is since we are required to be professionally licensed, continually tested and recertified ( unlike the others covered by this contract) we should be allowed to represent and bargain for ourselves. AA has aligned themselves with 2 other schools, Arkport and Canaseraga, both of which employ drivers with almost double the pay of AA. Currently the people you entrust your children to daily make less than the kid who just made your Burger King Whopper. (Myself personally drives a $120,000 machine with a minimum of 80 souls…your souls…in my charge daily).

Insurance, holidays etc all covered by this contract, pale in comparison. Without being able to speak for ourselves and then the infinitesimal raise they plan is truly a slap in the face. To summarize….WE WANT A VOICE.”

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