By Adam Freudberg
FRAMINGHAM – As I watch little league baseball today with the bus yard in the background of the baseball complex, all I can think about is the need for all stakeholders to come together for students to both avoid a near term bus driver strike and fix a chronic longterm problem with busing in the city.
Reliable busing to and from school is a human right.
That right is currently not being fulfilled due to the vendor’s driver shortage.
There are so many committed drivers, and the potential to bring in more drivers to work in our fantastic school district. In order to recruit and retain, higher hourly rates for drivers is a requirement. Framingham drivers are paid by the vendor $4+/hour less than multiple surrounding communities. This and other factors contribute to the vendor chronically being 17+ drivers below the contracted requirement.
For months I had been advocating for higher hourly rates for bus drivers to support recruitment, retention, and rewards for their hard work. For months the bureaucratic process has been frozen. It is time right now, this week to come together.
Bureaucracy is chronically getting in the way of solutions. It must not be the reason a detrimental strike occurs.
I strongly encourage the vendor and union to bargain in good faith, and often, in order to come to favorable resolution.
I strongly encourage the city legal counsel and city officials to be responsive and support solutions.
Let’s work in our different roles to team up and get the job done immediately for stability this school year, and set things on a better path for next fall.
Adam Freudberg, District 4 School Committee Member, Finance & Operations Subcommittee Chair
This statement is my own personal opinion and is not issued on behalf of the committee or any organization.