A&E Durham – Teamsters Contract Negotiations and how it affects The Rhinebeck Central School System

November 7, 2012

Dear Rhinebeck Parents and Staff:

We would like to take this opportunity to make you aware that the company with whom our school district contracts to provide transportation services to our students for the past several years, A&E/Durham School Services, currently is involved with Teamsters Local 445 in the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement covering A&E/Durham’s bus drivers and bus monitors.

In the interest of providing you with factual information about this matter, please be aware that the bus drivers and bus monitors are employees of A&E/Durham School Services.  They are not employees of the Rhinebeck Central School District.  The school district is not, and cannot be, involved in these private sector contract negotiations between A&E/Durham and the Teamsters.

Contract negotiations began earlier in the year, and both sides have been bargaining in good faith with the hopes of securing an agreement for all parties involved.  A&E/Durham and the Teamsters met most recently on October 25th and 26th.  Even though an agreement was not reached at the conclusion of the negotiation session, both parties agreed to continue discussions and negotiations on November 19th and 20th in the hopes of securing a new contract.

 The Teamsters’ chief negotiator has called a meeting on Friday, November 9th to take a strike vote, asking the A&E/Durham employees whether or not they want to authorize a strike against A&E/Durham at some point in the future.  The employees themselves must authorize in advance any job action that they decide to take.  Any strike or other job action on the part of A&E/Durham’s drivers has the potential to disrupt the normal schedules and instructional program for the Rhinebeck Central School District’s students and their parents.

 As a school district, our goal is to make our best effort to maintain the integrity of our daily school schedule, our excellent instructional program, and our outstanding support services on behalf of our students.  A&E/Durham has informed us that they are developing contingency plans in the event of a strike or other job action.  We too, are developing our own contingency plans.  In the interest of our children and their education, we urge you, as parents, to do the same and to consider making alternative arrangements to transport your children to and from school, should that become necessary at some point.

 In the event of any disruption to our usual transportation arrangements, we will communicate to you through our web site (www.rhinebeckcsd.org), through letters, and through our usual methods of emergency notifications, including SchoolMessenger and local radio stations.  We remain optimistic that these negotiations will come to a quick and successful conclusion for all parties without further threat of disruption to our schedule, our instructional program, and our support services.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s building principal, and thank you for your support on behalf of our students.

 Sincerely,

Joseph L. Phelan

Superintendent of Schools