The Seattle school bus driver strike came to an end Saturday after nine days of picketing. Students can expect yellow school bus service to start back up Monday morning.
“This is life-changing,” said driver Olivia Moore, a member of the Teamsters Local 174. “This is what we have been fighting for. I can go to the doctor. I can retire someday. I can’t even tell you how much that means.”
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The union’s website notes that Moore has been “struggling to receive treatment for cancer despite having no health insurance.” Health care was among the two main points of disagreement between employer First Student and the union. The union also fought for a better retirement package. The Teamsters report that they achieved both in negotiations that wrapped up late last week — with the help of a federal negotiator.
The union voted 97 percent in favor of accepting the contract Saturday morning. The vote put an end to the strike that began on Feb. 1 with about 400 drivers in Seattle. It is estimated that about 12,000 students had to find alternate transportation to school last week. Upon news of the deal, Seattle Public Schools stated:
This news lifts the burden so many in our school community have experienced since the strike began Feb. 1.
We are deeply appreciative to all who have worked to ensure educational continuity during this time. Mostly, we thank our families for their patience as negotiations between First Student and the union reached this conclusion.