Iowa City School Bus Drivers Plead For Help
Many of our essential workers feel like they've gotten the shaft throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. They've been showing up for work, loyally and faithfully, feeling as though they've been risking their health and safety, all the while seeing employers offer signing bonuses and extra benefits amid continued worker shortages, just to get more staff hired and positions filled. "What about us?", they ask. These essential workers feel like they're not seeing the fruits of their own labor in these cases.
The same goes for school bus drivers, who at least in Iowa City are now speaking their peace about hazard pay. The Iowa City Press-Citizen says about 35 drivers and supporters, some of them with the Local 238 Teamsters Union asked the school board to "provide hazard pay in exchange for their work driving children to and from school throughout the coronavirus pandemic." An emotional plea was made by Theresa Surberg at the school board meeting:
We do the very essential job of transporting all of these children to get to school. As part of our job, we have to be in a very small bus, sometimes with 50 students. There's literally no way to escape from whatever germs might be going around
They love their job and they love the kids, but it goes back to the factors I listed in the opening of this article. In the Iowa City school district they are reportedly short-staffed by up to 10 drivers. Iowa City school bus drivers are not employed by the district but are contracted with a third party known as Iowa Central School Bus. However, the union is requesting the school district pull from its government-provided Coronavirus relief funding to provide a 10 to 25 percent pay increase for the bus drivers.