COVENTRY, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s day two of the school bus driver strike in Coventry as drivers spent Wednesday morning walking the picket line in front of the town hall and middle and high schools. That meant no yellow buses full of kids on the roads, but there was one blue bus full of kids.
Behind the wheel of the blue bus was Greg Kiss, a father who has no interest in taking a job away from a school bus driver.
“I’m just helping out some families,” Kiss said. “This is no different than having a big van or a big SUV, that’s all. I hope for the best for them, and I hope everybody can come to a reasonable solution as fast as possible.”
A friend loaned him the bus. It usually takes family and friends on ski trips. It’s another way parents are dealing with the strike against M&J Bus. According to Teamsters Local 671, negotiations have not progressed, and no talks are scheduled.
“We still haven’t heard from M&J. The strikers are still out front,” said Eric Downer, Business Agent for Teamsters Local 671. “We’re still trying to reach a fair agreement as soon as possible.”
Local 671 celebrated a victory Tuesday when Meriden bus drivers voted to approve a temporary contract with New Britain Transportation. That was day two of their strike. The union is not optimistic about a repeat in Coventry.
“M&J is not taking its service contract with the town of Coventry very seriously,” Downer said. “They’ve been very nonchalant about the whole situation, and it’s starting to feel like they’re abandoning the community.”
This means parents will have to keep handling the transportation, and no, Greg Kiss is not looking for new passengers on the blue bus.
“It’s just my daughter, five of her best friends, and their siblings, that’s all,” Kiss said. “Right around in the neighborhood.”
And he’s hoping the yellow buses are back running soon.