The recent story in The Columbia County News Times, "School Board settles suit with school bus drivers," is typical of School Superintendent Tommy Price and The News Times, both anti-union and anti-blue-collar.
If I were a smug, arrogant administrator, with complete control over my underlings, I would not want any union looking over my shoulder either. A union cannot exist anywhere there is a well-treated work force with decent working conditions and fair treatment. Employees of Coors Brewing have refused numerous attempts to unionize for that very reason. Transport Workers Local 279 owes its existence to Price.
The reason that 38 bus drivers held out as Price said is because of a release that drivers had to sign to get the settlement. The document releases the Columbia County BOE from, and I quote "all actions, rights of actions, suits, claims, damages and demands whatsoever, known and unknown, anticipated and unanticipated, past, present and future for any and all forms of personal injury." I could not imagine why anyone would sign such a release for $563.73. What will happen to these drivers if they are seriously burned or killed while their bus is getting refueled? They no longer have any right to compensation.
Associate Superintendent Charles Nagle, Price's comical sidekick said "In a compromise, the system offered to pay drivers $1,500 a year for these duties," referring to what the release called "uncompensated work time." He did nothing that the Fair Labor Standards Act did not already require.
Columbia County school bus drivers should thank Price for the nearly $80,000 settlement which would not have been possible without him. Voters in Columbia County should keep this in mind at the next Board of Education election.
The Columbia County News-Times or The Augusta Chronicle need to do another feature on Price's mansion so the working people of Columbia County can see how the other half lives.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.