No school bus service in Greenwich, Connecticut after drivers call out

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Monday, April 17, 2023
No school bus service in Greenwich after drivers call out
Public schools in Greenwich, Connecticut, were without school buses on Monday after their employees did not show up for work.

GREENWICH, Connecticut (WABC) -- Public schools in Greenwich, Connecticut, were without school buses on Monday after their employees did not show up for work.

Greenwich Public Schools sent a letter to parents Monday that the company that drives the students, First Student, alerted them drivers would not report to work.

A school spokesperson said they were notified at 5:30 a.m. and they alerted parents by 6 a.m. Out of the district's 8,500 students, this impacted about 2,000 students.

The school told parents that they would need to find alternate plans to get their kids to school and back home after about 80 out of 125 drivers and monitors didn't show up for work.

The job action appears to have happened in support of a fellow driver disqualified from driving children earlier in the month.

The school said they notified First Student earlier in the month that one of their drivers cross a double yellow line more than 15 times on March 31.

"As is our right within our contract with First Student, we disqualified this driver from transporting any students from Greenwich Schools," the school said.

A spokesman for Transport Workers Union Local 100 said a school administrator reported the bus operator crossed the yellow traffic line but maintains the district did not look at video before action was taken, nor did they give the driver a chance to defend herself.

"No hearing. No due process. Nothing. This is a horrendous abuse of power," said TWU Local 100 Senior Director of Organizing Frank McCann.

He said the driver is a veteran with 20 years of experience and without a single accident on her record.

"The union and bus company reviewed the video and found the driver was not at all driving dangerously or recklessly," McCann said. "If she crossed the center line it was done briefly while passing cars parked on the right side of the road - and while there was no traffic approaching in the opposite lane. The company offered to retrain the driver but the district refused."

The driver at the center of it all, Nadia Micourt, said she was disappointed in the district's actions and honored by her fellow union members' support. She said she has been treated unfairly and she is a single mother with bills to pay. She adamantly denies crossing the double yellow line 15 times and she says video will prove that.

"I'm always watching in the rearview mirror to see what is behind me and if I have a long line behind me, I signal and let them pass," she said. "The kids love me and the parents always give me a gift card at the end of the year telling me 'I hope you are coming back.'"

A spokesperson for First Student released the following statement:

"First Student is disappointed transportation service did not occur today for Greenwich Public Schools. We understand the frustration this caused families, especially on such short notice. Unfortunately, we had a number of employees call off today. We hope they return to work tomorrow. We remain in close contact with the district and will keep them updated on staffing. Given this is a personnel matter, we are unable to comment further."

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