Scores of Miami-Dade students were late to school Friday — and some briefly stranded at their bus stops — when hundreds of bus drivers declined to show up for work in an apparent protest over wages and benefits.
It’s not immediately clear how many students weren’t picked up at their bus stops, or which schools were affected. But a number of confused parents received calls from their children about no-show buses, and were told in some cases they may have to pick up their children in the afternoon.
“We had some slowdowns this morning because there was a larger than normal number of bus drivers who were absent today,” said district spokesman John Schuster.
Schuster said 242 out of about 1,300 bus drivers — about one in six — failed to show up to work, causing problems at roughly 80 schools. He said schools served by the central, west and southwest transportation centers were primarily affected by what appeared to be a strike over a breakdown in union negotiations and increase in benefits costs that kicked in Jan. 1.
“Some of the employees are saying people should work, others are saying they should not,” Schuster said. “What we do know is that in this state, striking for them would be illegal. We have people who have called in sick and are not sick, who are actually demonstrating near the bus depots. So that’s not what we would quantify as a sick day.”