Employer suspends bus drivers after accusations of organized absence

CASEYVILLE, Ill. — Seven bus drivers were suspended from work Tuesday morning (May 15) accused by their employer of coordinating an organized group absence. However, the drivers say their absences are legitimate, and they have documentation to prove it.

Fox 2 spoke with five women who were suspended this morning when they arrived for work at the Illinois Central Bus Company in Caseyville. The drivers transport students in Caseyville and East St. Louis.

According to Catina Wilson, Vice President of Local 788, the union representing these drivers, eight employees missed work Monday (May 14). All eight employees followed proper call-in protocol to notify the company of their absence. At least three of the women have notes from doctors or hospitals proving their illness.

Upon arrival at work Tuesday, seven of the employees who missed work Monday were suspended and told to go home. Wilson said the drivers were not given verbal or written warnings.

Suspensions range from one day to three days. The employees say there does not seem to be any rationale to the variation in punishments.

According to Wilson, one driver who called in sick was not suspended, and there has been no explanation about the lack of punishment for that employee.

These drivers have no previous attendance issues, said Wilson, adding that Monday was the first time one of the suspended drivers had been absent during her seven years on the job.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Central School Bus Company said they were "having some employment issues" in the Caseyville branch, and they have no further comment.