HOUSTON, Texas – About 150 bus drivers skipped work on Thursday. Drivers were supposed to have a hearing with the district in the morning, but realizing that didn't actually make sense, Houston Independent School District (HISD) cancelled it after 10pm last night.
That didn't work out so well. Drivers still showed up on Thursday morning, and a whole bunch of kids ended up getting stranded in the cold.
“We are not being paid for inclement weather days, time off during holiday breaks, time off during the summer, and then we are denied getting unemployment,” says Vincent Roberts, who is a driver for the district.
The grievance is primarily about drivers not getting paid for two inclement weather days last year. But according to HISD, drivers are hourly workers and they made-up those days at the end of the year.
But the drivers do not feel heard, and they say they hate for kids to be in the middle.
“We love these kids, these kids teach us as we teach them,” said one driver.
Substitute drivers helped all the kids eventually get in on Thursday, and some non-striking employees had to do multiple routes.
HISD said in a statement: “On Thursday morning, 40 HISD bus routes were unstaffed, and 12 of the district’s 1,000-plus bus routes arrived at school more than 15 minutes late, which is slightly more than normal. HISD respects the rights of all employees and has created a grievance process that is intended to ensure that the important work of educating children continues uninterrupted.”