Update 2/10/2018 7:20 p.m.: First Student and the Teamsters Union 174 have reached a contract agreement and bus service will resume on Monday morning.
Original Post: The Seattle Public School bus drivers' strike may be coming to an end after more than a week. Yellow school bus contractor First Student entered into mediation with the union representing the drivers Thursday. Representatives from both parties now say they’ve reached a tentative agreement.
Health care benefits and retirement plans have been at the heart of negotiations. First Student and Teamsters Local 174 said Friday they're confident that the negotiated contract will be approved by the drivers.
“We are confident that this contract will be ratified by union membership. The vote will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 10 at 10:00 a.m. Upon ratification, yellow bus service will resume on Monday,” a joint statement from the parties said.
Union spokeswoman Jamie Fleming said via text Friday that if the contract is voted down over the weekend, drivers will be back on strike Monday. But she said she’s hopeful that won’t happen.
Negotiators from both sides say the agreement provides an expanded benefits package and comprehensive health care coverage for drivers and their families.
“Though this tentative agreement took longer than we had hoped, what brings us all together is our shared commitment to provide safe and reliable transportation for Seattle Public Schools students and families,” the joint statement said.
According to Seattle Public Schools, roughly 12,000 students usually take yellow buses to and from school each day.
For the past week, the vast majority of those students have had to take alternate transportation.