GCAE Statement Regarding GCS Bus Driver Walkout

After weeks of rumors, we learned that bus drivers with Guilford County Schools have announced a walkout over wages, to take place on Monday, November 25.

Contrary to the rumor mill, GCAE is not leading this walkout. However, we are not at all surprised that so many of our co-workers are feeling backed into a corner. If the NC legislature and our County Commissioners treated people right and funded our schools at levels that allowed for basic dignity, we would not be facing this problem.

We stand with GCS bus drivers and all public school employees, students, and communities.

We will be gathering information at meetings over the next few days and provide updates so that we can plan next steps at our monthly meeting this Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5 pm at Smith High School.

The Guilford County Association of Educators is here to help facilitate and negotiate a way forward if GCS bus drivers decide that is something they desire.

Here’s what we know:

1. In our school district, wages paid to many bus drivers and other classified employees are not enough to meet their families’ basic needs. Many have no health insurance because they are underemployed by the school system and do not qualify for the State Health Care Plan.

2. The NC General Assembly adjourned without passing ANY educator pay raises. Prior to adjourning, the Senate was offering 1% at best for classified staff.

3. The NC General Assembly adjourned without passing Medicaid Expansion, which would have given healthcare to 600,000 North Carolinians and 35,000 residents of Guilford County including many of our GCS bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

4. The Guilford County Commissioners failed to fund the GCS budget request by $6 million, which included $1 million which was specifically allocated for bus driver pay.

5. Guilford County is facing a bus driver shortage. On any given day, we are running up to 60 drivers short. Many drivers are having to drive double and triple routes, often with no additional pay.

6. On May 1st our demands included a $15/hr minimum with a 5% pay raise across the board and full Medicaid Expansion. We have not deviated from those demands.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as we are able.

#InThisTogether #RedForEd #LoveTheBus #NCAEStrong

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