12:56 PM: That’s the scene earlier today at the Teamsters Local 174 hall in Tukwila, where First Student school-bus drivers voted on the agreement announced Friday. The photo is from West Seattle driver Al, who provided updates during the 7-day strike, and told us earlier that everyone he’d talked to was in favor of the agreement. He just texted to say the drivers have been told they voted 97 percent “yes,” so the strike IS over and they will be back to work Monday. We’ll update this story whenever the official statement comes in.
1:11 PM: We have received this statement from First Student’s lead negotiator Kim Mingo, confirming the strike is over and yellow-bus service for Seattle Public Schools will resume Monday:
We are very pleased that First Student yellow bus drivers have voted to ratify the expanded benefits program included within their contract. We look forward to resuming the reliable transportation that First Student is known for, and that Seattle Public Schools families depend on, on Monday.
6:18 PM: The union’s announcement says a bit more about what’s in the deal:
The new agreement is an overwhelming victory for the group of more than 400 bus drivers. Most of them did not receive healthcare through their employer and did not have access to a reasonable retirement plan. All of that changes with the ratification of this agreement.
The agreement provides quality healthcare at an affordable cost. It also provides the bus drivers with a Teamster pension plan, the first ever achieved for contracted school bus drivers in Seattle and possibly the entire country for First Student members.
Read Local 174’s full statement here.