SEATTLE – Seattle’s school bus drivers announced they’ll be going on a one-day strike on Wednesday. The strike means there will be no yellow bus service in Seattle School District.
A spokesperson for Teamsters 174 said more than 400 drivers will participate. About 12,000 students ride buses in the district.
The union had been in negotiations with First Student over what it called “an inferior medical plan” and retirement benefits.
"It’s unavoidable that some parents are going to end up blaming the Teamsters, but I think, ultimately, that my hope is that parents understand that these drivers, who are the ones that drive their kids back and forth to school every day with no health coverage," said Teamsters 174 spokesperson Jamie Fleming. "This isn’t their fault."
The district issued a statement saying it was "deeply disappointed."
“We are deeply disappointed that negotiations between First Student and the union have resulted in a strike. Even a one-day work stoppage will be disruptive to the families of the 12,000 students who ride a First Student bus.
“Over the past six weeks, we have regularly updated our families who rely on First Student to be prepared for this type of action. But it will still be inconvenient for them.
“We continue to expect First Student and the Teamsters to reach an agreement and provide certainty to our families.”
Information provided on the district's website in advance of a possible strike said the school will proceed as scheduled, and any absences as a result of the strike will not be excused.
The district suggested creating alternate plans such as carpools, "walking school buses" with neighbors and classmates, or public transportation. The district said principals are working on plans to help supervise students after school when possible, but that parents should notify the school of any delays or changes in a child's pickup routine.
The union said it was striking to send a message, in hopes of avoiding a long-term strike.
We'll have more on this breaking news story as new details become available.