ANOTHER SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE? Seattle drivers reject newest First Student offer

(Picketers at South Park bus yard during one-day November strike – photo from Al)

The union representing First Student school-bus drivers who transport Seattle Public Schools students warns that “a protracted strike by the group of over 400 drivers is all but imminent” after they rejected the bus company’s latest offer. That’s from the Teamsters Local 174 website report on the Saturday meeting in which First Student’s offer was turned down by drivers. While the drivers accepted the company’s pay offer sometime back, they have continued to be in dispute over health care and retirement; the union website says, “The group was extremely dissatisfied that the Company’s proposal did not include any affordable healthcare coverage for spouses or families, and that there was no pension included in the offer.” The drivers went on strike for one day back in late November. The school district – which does not employ the drivers directly, but contracts with First Student to provide services – posted an update tonight saying:

… After the vote, the drivers’ union indicated First Student drivers could strike again. The district does not know when or if a strike will happen. However, we will continue to closely monitor. …

The district’s update also includes its FAQ reminding parents that if there is another bus-driver strike, schools will remain open, as they did for the one-day walkout in November.

13 Replies to "ANOTHER SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE? Seattle drivers reject newest First Student offer"

  • psps January 8, 2018 (9:51 pm)

    Before all the anti-union windbags get going, it should be pointed out that the beef is between the drivers and the First Student Company, not the Seattle School district, who is merely one of many customers of First Student. 

    First Student is a British company, whose CEO makes many millions of pounds every year and lives in London.  He’s enjoying his afternoon tea served on a platter by his household staff while his employees can’t afford health care or a dignified retirement.

    • WSB January 8, 2018 (9:55 pm)

      I tried to make it abundantly clear in the story that the drivers work for First Student. The union update linked and quoted is pretty clear on that too.

  • Mike January 8, 2018 (10:24 pm)

    The union is asking for too much. I say this as a progressive Democrat. My parents spent decades working for government to earn their pensions, and they were lucky to get them at all. Why should First Student commit to a pension for a part time workforce. … they already agreed to provide comprehensive health benefits which is what the last  strike was about!

    • KBear January 9, 2018 (8:31 am)

      Progressive Democrats don’t advocate against workers’ benefits, Mike. And the oft repeated argument that “they’re asking for more than I get” is self-defeating. That’s not how unions work, and it’s not how present-day standards like 8-hour workdays, holiday pay, and 2-day weekends came about.

    • Tina January 9, 2018 (11:08 am)

      Mike we are still fighting for affordable healthcare!! Thats what the strike is about. That offer was a slap in the face of employees who cant afford healthcare and don’t qualify for free healthcare from the government. 

  • MJ January 8, 2018 (10:46 pm)

    My prior employer provided health coverage for employees only.  If an employee wanted to add a spouse or child they had to pay for the coverage.  Equal pay for equal work dictates that this is the equitable way to pay for employee health care.

    • WSB January 8, 2018 (11:02 pm)

      If you read the quote, the union did not say they were asking for FREE health care for family members – it said “the Company’s proposal did not include any AFFORDABLE healthcare coverage for spouses or families.” (Caps mine.)

    • Swede. January 8, 2018 (11:47 pm)

      My current employer, King county, doesn’t provide coverage for family members either… only if you are married can you add your significant other. So what’s your point MJ?

    • Tina January 9, 2018 (11:11 am)

      The offer wasn’t even affordable for the employees themselves!! A lot of us would have to file bankruptcy to pay off our portion of the medical bills with the plan they offered. 

  • gxnx January 9, 2018 (11:53 am)

    Equal Work=Equal Pay=Equal Benefits

    Everyone needs medical !!!

    Plain and simple.

  • skeeter January 9, 2018 (12:49 pm)


    Can someone
    explain something to me?  My
    understanding is 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.

  • MJ January 9, 2018 (12:53 pm)

    What is affordable health care?  I know my rates have more than doubled since the ACA and I know the same happened to many of my colleagues.

    One item that I believe we can all agree on is that the US spends more for health care as a percent of GNP than any other developed country and the outcome is mediocre at best.

    The debate is how to contain costs and equitably assign cost to each person.  

    • brian January 10, 2018 (3:51 pm)

      You’re looking for a different debate, my man. Good deflection, though. Admirable try.    

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