The union representing Beaufort County school bus drivers has issued a statement that is light on details on ongoing negotiations with Durham School Services.
"Durham School Services initially told us they did not want to negotiate this contract through the media," the statement says. "We have honored their request despite the fact that they have not done the same."
Durham officials released details of the company's counterproposal Tuesday to bus drivers. John Elliott, Durham chairman emeritus, told reporters Tuesday the company offered to increase new drivers' starting pay by 50 cents to $12 an hour.
Average pay would rise 45 cents to $15.01 per hour. Drivers work at least 4 1/2-hours a day, depending on the length of their route, he said. That would increase drivers' pay 3 to 4 percent. The union had requested a 10-percent raise, according to Elliott.
Beaufort union members voted Monday to strike should negotiations fail. Teamsters and Durham officials met Tuesday and today and will meet Thursday to continue negotiations.
Each day of meetings has been devoted to a different school district where a strike may occur -- Dorchester 2, Charleston and Beaufort County districts. Negotiations for the Beaufort County district are expected to occur Thursday.
"We still hope to reach an agreement with the company that improves safety and provides the drivers and monitors with dignity and respect," the Teamsters' statement said.