Teamsters ratifies new bus driver contract with Hamilton County as Durham prepares to leave Chattanooga market

Union negotiates for similar contract agreement with First Student

Busses pull up to drop students off during the first day of school on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at Battle Academy. (Could not photograph students leaving bus since due to lack of parental consent)

Hamilton County's contract school bus drivers have their first contract with Teamsters Local 327, which organized over 250 drivers and monitors for Durham School Services last year.

The new contract, which was unanimously ratified last month, provides wage boosts for first-year drivers from 8 to 22 percent, retroactive to March 1, union president Joe Bennett said Tuesday. But the contract is with a company that is preparing to shut down its local operations after the county school system decided in March to change bus carriers.