Eighteen Cumberland County bus drivers demanding higher pay held a “sick-out” in late February, according to Fayettville’s CityView Magazine.
The bus drivers called out of work because they want more than the current minimum pay of $15 an hour.
This protest was held due to what Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly called “pay compression,” WRAL reported. According to Connelly, the state requires that newly hired bus drivers be paid $15 per hour but drivers with years of experience driving for the county only make $15.93.
“We think we deserve more,” Cumberland County Schools bus driver Dorothy Dixon told WRAL. “We just don’t think it’s fair.”
Dixon said she thinks school bus drivers with years of experience should make $19-$20 per hour.
Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools recently raised bus driver pay to $20 an hour – the highest pay rate in the Triangle.
In November 2021, nearly 30% of Cumberland County buses missed their route when drivers held a sick-out protest over their then-$12 an hour starting pay.
The 2021 protest, which lasted multiple days, resulted in all county school employees receiving two $1,000 bonuses and the minimum wage being raised to $15 an hour for school employees.
It’s not clear at this point if the latest sick-out will result in a pay increase or if more sick-out protests will be held to get their point across.