School buses are rolling again in DeKalb County, but some fired drivers are demanding their jobs back.
A group of bus drivers fired by DeKalb County School District were at school headquarters making a public appeal to be re-hired. This comes after a three-day driver strike that ended Monday.
At least seven drivers were fired after calling out of work on Thursday as part of the planned "sick out." Drivers said they are seeking more pay, better retirement benefits and better treatment.
Channel 2 Action News was there as protestors visited the administration offices Thursday.
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“We are just here as eight people that want our jobs back, jobs that we worked hard for, for kids. We want (the) school board to rescind the termination and bring them back,” said Melanie Davis, a protester.
The DeKalb Drivers Support Coalition delivered a letter to Superintendent Stephen Green's office Thursday morning. The statement says in part:
"The working conditions of bus drivers in DeKalb County unnecessarily put children and drivers alike at risk, and managements' response of firing workers attempting to draw attention to these problems will only worsen these conditions and deter employees from reporting safety issues. Drivers are pressured to speed from one drop off to the next in order to meet unrealistic transit schedules, and DeKalb County refuses to hire enough bus drivers to improve the situation. This lack of drivers is compounded by the high-turnover rate caused by their horrible working conditions. Buses are poorly maintained, and drivers have complained that coolant and anti-freeze often leak at their feet as they drive, staining their clothes, irritating their skin, and posing a fire risk which endangers both students and drivers. Buses are so old that they are frequently not equipped with heaters or air conditioning. Anyone who has spent a summer in Atlanta understands that this means that students and drivers are exposed to extreme weather conditions. This along with persistent overcrowding shows a lack of willingness on behalf of management to address serious concerns about their employees' and students' safety. Shame on Superintendent Green for firing workers who are speaking out about their unfair treatment and the danger that these conditions pose to DeKalb County children. Shame on him for claiming that the drivers have put the students at risk by having a sick-out when he allows the students to be put at risk Monday through Friday by refusing to address these unsafe conditions."
For the entire statement, click here.