SEATTLE — The union representing Seattle school bus drivers and the company First Start have agreed to meet Thursday in an attempt to resolve the 5-day-old strike.
“As hundreds of teachers, parents, and educators descend on the First Student picket lines, First Student has finally reached out to the Teamsters and a meeting will be taking place tomorrow, February 8, 2018. We are hopeful that this meeting will bring us closer to a resolution to this strike,” Teamsters Local 174 said.
“Meanwhile, the striking bus drivers are grateful for the support from the Seattle Education Association, who came out in force to bolster spirits on the picket lines at each First Student bus lot. If this meeting leads to any announcements, we will be sure to inform the public who have been so helpful and supportive up to this point,” the union said.
Teachers were “walking out” to picket after students went home, so it’s not expected to have an impact on classes.
First Student, the company that employs the drivers, could be forced to pay more than a million dollars a day if the strike continues.
It has a contract with Seattle Public Schools, but since First Student can't fulfill its side of the deal by taking kids to school the district could seek damages from the bus company.
According to the district, that could mean First Student could have to pay about $1.2 million each day the strike goes on.
Drivers say they want better health care and pensions. First Student says it won't give them full-time benefits for part-time work.
Now, the bust drivers want Seattle's school district to step in and help them get a deal.
Seattle Public Schools wouldn't say whether it plans to charge First Student all that money, but a spokesperson did say the district is calculating how much would be owed and will address collecting that money as the situation unfolds.