School-bus strike still possible, so Seattle Public Schools reminds families to be on standby

Seattle Public Schools is continuing to remind families that there COULD be a school-bus-driver strike at any time, and one reader suggested we should publish an update.

First Student is the company that provides yellow-bus service for SPS students. It’s been two months since the Teamsters Union Local 174 members who work for First Student voted to authorize a (potential) strike, as explained on the union’s website. And that followed what the union says were “several months of negotiations” over health care and pensions.

The most-recent update on the union website is from November 15th, reporting that mediated talks had broken down.

Just before Thanksgiving break, the district published an update on its website, reminding families:

… First Student and the bus driver union have not resolved their labor dispute and continue to negotiate. All families who use yellow school bus service need to have alternative plans to get their student to school in the event of a strike.

Any potential strike affects yellow bus riders. If your student gets to school using other district-provided methods (e.g. taxi, American Logistics), those services will not be disrupted. …

No updates on the bus service’s website. The district promises notification as quickly as possible if it gets word of a walkout, and we would of course publish it here too. So far, though, no changes, so this is just a reminder that it’s still a possibility.

20 Replies to "School-bus strike still possible, so Seattle Public Schools reminds families to be on standby"

  • ItsAlwaysSomethingSPS November 27, 2017 (7:03 am)

    What a joke the teamsters take their money what do they do with it. They sure don’t provide retirement or health benefits. If they think striking is getting working class parents on your side think again. 

  • Mike November 27, 2017 (7:06 am)

    Ah yes, adults who can’t play well together.  It’s so great that when immature adults fight, kids and hard working parents lose out.  We need stiffer penalties for union leaders and district heads when they can’t come to a resolution.  Maybe jail time when they cost children their lawful right to free education.

  • Patrick November 27, 2017 (7:44 am)

    This is all related to under funding the school system right?

    • The King November 27, 2017 (10:01 am)

      It sounds like the drivers want benefits like state employees, retirement, health insurance etc. 

  • dot November 27, 2017 (8:59 am)

    will there still be classes if they strike?

    • WSB November 27, 2017 (9:07 am)

      Yes, there will. That’s why the district’s message tells parents that they have to have a backup plan for getting kids to school if there’s no bus service available.

  • Admiral Mom November 27, 2017 (9:55 am)

    So many school districts across the country have dropped/modified their bus system because of the cost of bussing kids to school. If you look at the SPS budget, the second most expensive item behind teacher salaries is transportation. That’s insane! Most districts either offer a pay for transportation plan or they provide a low-income option for families. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the money actually going into the classroom?!?!

    • WSB November 27, 2017 (10:19 am)

      SPS did modify its system some years ago. Middle- and high-school students who are eligible for transportation primarily are given ORCA cards to ride Metro.

  • Mark November 27, 2017 (12:48 pm)

    If they strike I hope the SPS gets all penalty payments due per the Contract.  The adversely affected parents should then, with documentation, be reimbursed for the inconvenience from the penalty payment.

  • SharonW. November 27, 2017 (2:29 pm)

    OMG try being in the bus drivers shoes, obviously none of you commenting are UNION and have no say on what their wages, pensions and for that matter on your health insurance.

    And would it really hurt you to have to drive your child to school these few days or weeks of the strike or if you live close enough have them walk?! I know when I was in grade school we lived 7 blocks from school and all 3 of us had to walk to and from everyday.

    You wonder why kids have become so lazy… 

    • WSB November 27, 2017 (2:49 pm)

      I linked the transportation standards in a comment above. 7 blocks would not be in a transportation zone.

  • DH November 27, 2017 (3:57 pm)

    Glad to see the drivers and their Union sticking up for their deserved compensation. I’d prefer to see this happen without a strike but sometimes employees need to stand up for themselves. If more people organized and did this I think we’d have decreased income inequality. 

  • Alex November 27, 2017 (4:30 pm)

    So Seattle parents don’t care about who is driving their kids to school, or in what condition, as long as they don’t have to do s–t about it. Isn’t this the season to think about your fellow man?

    • Imma mom November 27, 2017 (7:22 pm)

      Actually, this SPS parent cares a lot about who drives my kid to school.  The man who does is a good guy and deserves affordable health insurance.  This job is not easy. Requires not only driving skills but kid management skills.  I appreciate our bus drivers.  They should strike if they need. Our kids will be fine, parents inconvienenced. That’s nothing to pay for a bit more equality. 

  • skeeter November 27, 2017 (5:20 pm)


    Can someone
    explain something to me?  My
    understanding of the primary dispute is drivers are not being offered
    affordable health insurance.  Under the
    employer mandate of the ACA, a
    s of 2016, businesses with more than 50 full-time
    equivalent workers *have* to offer *affordable* coverage to those workers and
    their dependents.  Well I’m pretty sure
    First Student has far more than 50 employees. 
    So what am I missing?  Did First
    Student get some sort of waiver or exemption that they do not have to comply
    with the ACA?  I can understand if there
    is a dispute over wages or time off or whatever.  But there shouldn’t be a dispute about
    affordable health insurance because the law requires it from 2016 forward.

    • Mike November 27, 2017 (5:58 pm)

      That’s for full time employees.  Unions thrive on taking Union dues from part time and school age members without having to payout benefits.

  • CaptainObvious November 27, 2017 (6:47 pm)

    Mike – Jail time? Seriously? What a ridiculous idea. 

    And blaming the union for part time workers not getting health care? When the union is advocating for the workers to receive the benefits? The union is the only chance that these workers will receive anything close to a livable wage, or any benefits at all.

    Of course, if health care were considered a right, and we had government sponsored health care like most developed countries, then the bus drivers could get health care even though they are part time employees.

    • Mike November 28, 2017 (7:03 am)

      Yes, jail time.  That seems to be the only way they’ll do their jobs.

      I once was a part time under age union member, I paid a large sum of my minimum wage paycheck to the union and got nothing in return for years.

      We do have government sponsored healthcare.  Most all of these bus drivers actually qualify for FREE healthcare via our state.

  • Graciano November 27, 2017 (8:17 pm)

    Taxi service to bring kids to and from school, Can someone explain why and who is paying for this? 


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