It’s been a bumpy road getting students to and from school in Howard County, with the beginning of the school year riddled with bus driver shortages and route mishaps.

Now, bus drivers employed by the district’s largest contractor, Zum, are trying to unionize.

This morning, Howard County bus drivers employed by Zum Transportation Services joined members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1994 to hold a rally ahead of their representation vote scheduled for next week.

The rally was held at the school bus yard in Jessup, where drivers said they want their employer to hold up their end of the bargain when it comes to the bonuses and benefits they were promised.

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Some bus drivers say their pay is calculated by a GPS system that doesn’t factor in traffic or any delays during pickup or drop off.

“I love my kids, I love what I do, I’m passionate about what I do, but guess what? You’ve got to follow through and pay me and do what you’re supposed to do — what you said you were going to do. The benefits you offered me? I could have stayed at the other company, but you said you were going to give me something that I wasn’t getting there,” Angela Scott, a bus driver, told WJZ.

UFCW representatives claim Zum is using a union avoidance firm and conducting union-busting activities.

A spokesperson for Zum Transportation Services responded to our request with a statement saying, in part, “We value the open lines of communication that we have with our drivers.

“If there is a union, that would change, and we do not think that is in our drivers’ or company’s best interest,” the spokesperson said. “We believe that once all the facts are known, our drivers will decide that a union is not necessary.”

WJZ is a media partner of The Baltimore Banner

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