Following the vote, there is a seven day period to determine if anyone files an objection to the election. If not, the results are certified by the National Labor Relations Board, said Ofelia Gonzalez of the Board's regional office in Fort Worth.
In a brief interview, Durham's Regional Manager Brian Shuldberg said that his understanding is the majority of worker concerns were about wages and benefits.
"They are paid based on the economics for the area. We competitively bid for the contract in Weatherford," he said. "That's what we felt was needed to attract the number of drivers to provide the service to our customer."
Shuldberg stressed that buses are safe.
"The buses absolutely are safe. We couldn't even go out if they were not safe. We have no defects that have been noted by drivers that have not been repaired," he said.
Weatherford school bus staffers and union organizers were silent as yellow paper ballots were counted into two piles. They crowded in an unairconditioned bus wash bay at the Weatherford school district's transportation facilities off Sloan Street.
Afterward, they gathered in the parking lot and hugged, thanked and congratulated one another. Here are some reactions.
David Logsdon, a driver, told his colleagues: "Forget the mistakes of the past. Let's press on to the greater achievement of the future. I want to move forward."
Carol Little, a driver, said: "This shows that if we stand together, we can do it. When I saw that 'yes' pile, I just knew."
Dan Linden, a driver, said: "We hope that the number of 'yes' votes will give Durham a message about how they (Durham corporate officials) treat their employees. It was a relief, but we had talked about it and said we're going to be quiet and respectful. This was not 'rub their face in it.' "
Jeremiah R. Wilkins, a driver, said: "I want this to be seen by all the Durham (sites) in Texas that haven't gone union, to tell the others, 'you can do it, too.' "
Linda Dill, a Transport Workers Union organizer, said: "I thank the workers for trusting the TWU and moving forward and educating themselves on the facts. This is history-making for Durham in Texas."
The vote was 49 to 14.
It is the first Durham site in Texas to unionize. The employees are school bus drivers, monitors and maintenance workers.
Weatherford's Durham employees launched the union drive because of concerns about low pay and lack of benefits and issues such as no sick time or seniority, concerns about bus upkeep and "a general lack of respect," said Carol Little, a bus driver.
Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for National Express Corp., Durham’s parent company, wrote in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “The company's position is that the decision to unionize is left to our employees to make by secret ballot election.”
Read more on the Star-Telegram's website.
In the weeks before the election, some Weatherford employees have been wearing union logo shirts on Fridays as a show of solidarity, drivers said. And a handful of staffers gathered for an April 27 support rally off Main Street in Weatherford, waving at motorists and holding signs such as “transporting America's most precious cargo.” That drew objections from the school district.
“One of the signs reads, ‘Are the buses safe?,” Weatherford schools superintendent Jeffrey Hanks said in a post on the district’s website. “Of course they are, or Durham would not allow them to be driven.”
A March vote among Durham staffers at the Northwest school district failed, with a vote of 70 to 45 against unionization. Some Durham staffers at the Keller school district have expressed interest in a union and have been monitoring the election in Weatherford closely.
To launch elections, it takes signatures from at least 35 percent of employees.