Brenda Benson, superintendent of Scioto County MRDD, said the local facility will remain open during the drivers' strike.
According to OAPSE, Local 375 represents 12 bus drivers employed by the Scioto County Board of MRDD, whose contracts expired on May 19, 2007. The two parties, OAPSE and the MRDD Board, have been negotiating a new contract since May 1, 2007.
"We've not been given official notice. So, at this point, I can't say for sure what is happening with the union," Benson said. She also said procedures dictate the next step, after the notice is received, will be a meeting between the representatives of the board and the union with a federal mediator.
"We really hope to be able to resolve this before if comes to a strike. In the meantime, we will be providing services as usual and gearing up for a new year," she said. "If the bus drivers decide to strike, we have plans in place to minimize the impact on families. The people we serve are our first priority."
Classes at Vern Riffe School for students age 6 to 21 begin Aug. 19, and the preschool opens a week later.
Karen Bailey, field representative for OAPSE, said she would not yet reveal the date on which the union plans to begin its strike, but said she will notify Scioto County MRDD very soon.
"What prompted this is the board's implementation of the final best offer at their last board meeting," Bailey said. "The main issues are subcontracting ... and the storage of the busses; whether it will be in a central location of whether the drivers will be permitted to take those buses home ... and of course wages is still on the table; and the question of, they currently have steps or increments, and they want to freeze those increments."
OAPSE is an affiliation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees representing a total of more than 38,000 members including Ohio schools, public libraries, Head Start agencies and board of MRDDs.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY an be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.