SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Day 5 on Wednesday; union asks district to fine First Student

(Tuesday morning photo courtesy of striking driver Al)

Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 7) will be the fifth day of the strike against First Student, which is contracted to provide yellow-bus service for Seattle Public Schools. Some drivers continue to cross the picket lines, and some local families are getting district notifications that their routes will be served – the district said in its Monday night update that about 70 of the almost 400 drivers had gone to work that day. Today, the drivers’ union Teamsters Local 174 published a call for the district to fine First Student, pointing to the text of a letter it said a district official sent the bus company three months ago, warning that it faced a fine of up to $1.2 million a day.

We asked district spokesperson Kim Schmanke about the contract; she confirmed that it “requires uninterrupted service, with liquidated damages as an option for the district,” which she added “is continuing to track and calculate” those potential damages, and “will address collection of those damages in conjunction with legal counsel as this situation unfolds.” (If you’re interested in contract details, here’s what went to the School Board for approval a year ago.)

ADDED 11:02 PM: One more note – the teachers’ union, the Seattle Education Association, plans a show of support for the striking drivers on Wednesday, after classes end for the day (Wednesdays have been early-release days all year), and are planning to wear red as part of it.

9 Replies to "SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Day 5 on Wednesday; union asks district to fine First Student"

  • The King February 6, 2018 (9:22 pm)

    The drivers were offered a 20% raise putting top pay potential at over $24 hr, the health insurance plan would be 80% paid for by the employer, a 5500 a year benefit for the employee only, not family memebers or they could opt out of the health insurance altogether and take a stipend of $1920. And they turned that down. If I had a CDL I would go to metro and apply, I hear they are hiring drivers. Just be prepared to be spit on, threatened and possibly assaulted. 

  • joel February 6, 2018 (11:32 pm)

    so the district can fine the bus company due to the strike….but does the district fine itself when teacher’s strike and there is no school?

    • WSB February 6, 2018 (11:52 pm)

      Does the district have a contract with itself specifying that it can fine itself?

  • Mike February 7, 2018 (7:00 am)

    How about they all get fined for not negotiating when school is not in session.  All this does is hold kids and parents hostage while so called adults play games.  Parents need to stand up and start taking legal action for lost wages and PTO.  This has become a joke at this point.

  • Shockley February 7, 2018 (10:47 am)

    “… while so called adults play games.”

    People organizing for reasonable pay and benefits is not “playing games”, no matter how much you’d like to deny them that right.  Nor does it make them “children”.  

    I fully understand that “shut up and get back to work” is how you would like to run things, but luckily for us this is still America, mostly.

    • Mike February 8, 2018 (7:02 am)

      They are playing games.  They feel it’s their right to force everyone else to bow to them by not doing this in the off season.  There is ZERO reason it could not be done without negative impact to everyone else.  The ONLY reason it is done this way is to use parents and kids as leverage.  It’s A GAME to them. 

  • ProudPapa February 7, 2018 (11:30 am)

    Let me just say that traffic has been very light this week leaving the peninsula. I suppose many parents are taking later commutes or not commuting at all to get their kids to and from school.

    I personally have driven all my kids to school starting over 13 years ago. I enjoy the time with them.

  • KBear February 7, 2018 (12:20 pm)

    A strike isn’t anyone’s first choice, but if it weren’t disruptive it wouldn’t be effective. If we had universal health care like most other developed countries, this wouldn’t be happening.

    • ProudPapa February 7, 2018 (12:37 pm)

      I’m pretty sure even if we had affordable universal health care that strikes would still happen. Unions  provide leverage for the workers and if there is no longer a need for leverage than there is no longer a need for unions. And as my union friends like to say “the unions ain’t goin away”!

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