Did your kids carpool or take a Lyft? Did you find a different, creative solution — or just throw up your hands and let them stay home for the day? We want to hear from you.
If you have kids in Seattle Public Schools, it’s surely not news to you that school-bus drivers are on a one-day strike.
The strike has left about 12,000 students without a bus ride to and from school Wednesday. About 400 bus drivers are negotiating for better health benefits and a stronger retirement plan, benefits the drivers say Ohio-based First Student, which contracts with the school district, promised to address last year.
So, what did those of you who usually depend on the bus to get your kids to school do today?
Did you take them to school yourself? Arrange a carpool with neighbors or friends? Set up your child with a Lyft account?
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Did you find a different, creative solution — or just throw up your hands and let them stay home? (The district said students who miss school will receive an unexcused absence, but can make up classwork, homework and tests if their teacher approves.)
The strike was called by Teamsters Local 174, which represents the district’s drivers. Union leaders said they could call for a longer strike if an agreement isn’t reached with First Student. The contract with the bus-operator company calls for continuous service and the district has threatened to seek damages of $1.2 million for each day of interrupted service.
First Student said it offered union leaders additional funding for health care and retirement in the past few weeks during talks that began in June. But Teamsters spokesman Jamie Fleming said none of those proposals have been “even close to sufficient.”
First Student is in the first year of a three-year contract with Seattle Public Schools that’s worth at least $27 million a year.
During labor discussions last year, the union said, First Student promised to negotiate driver benefits. At the time, the contractor increased its entry-level wage for bus drivers to $18 per hour but didn’t extend health-care benefits to any driver who works less than 30 hours per week.
When First Student’s latest contract expired in August, the school district sought proposals from other contractors. First Student was the only one to respond.
It’s not the first time local drivers have sparred with First Student over benefits; in 2014 they threatened to strike over sick leave and health care.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.