YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Schools bus drivers and their union representatives are doing everything they can to make sure they will be getting their jobs back this fall, but it’s not looking good.
About a month ago, they received word that they could not work because the district lost certifications for bus drivers.
Derrick Cathey has been a bus driver in Youngstown for 25 years but on July 1, everything changed.
“We got a call that we couldn’t drive. We had drivers scheduled for summer school, some were scheduled to do field trips and we heard that our certificates were no longer good,” he said.
Drivers were told they had to do some things all over again.
“They were told they needed to be recertified for a number of things, and they’ve had classes in the past week where they’ve showed up for the classes, and the people have not been there and the instructors have not been there,” said Jack Filak, regional director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Drivers say this process makes them feel uneasy, especially with school starting in just two weeks.
“Not good. I mean, I want to get paid. I mean, we love the children, this is what we do,” Cathey said. “We have rapport with the parents, rapport with the children. Many of the same kids from the time they’re little…I’ve had kids all the way from preschool to high school.”
The state will be coming in the next week to meet with the administration.
“We will be finding out from them if the drivers are, in fact, recertified and when they’ll be back in the buses,” Filak said. “The fact is that a number of the workers have lost money because they’ve been deprived of the opportunity to work when they were ready, and willing and able to do so.”
Cathey says time isn’t moving fast enough.
“I want us to be able to get on our buses and drive. I mean, that’s what we do, that’s what we get paid to do. We do a good job at that, and I want us to be able to go back and do what we do.”
CEO Krish Mohip says he is aware of this problem and looks forward to working closely with drivers to resolve the issue.