SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Tuesday will be Day 4 of First Student drivers’ walkout

(Some buses rolled out of First Student South Park yard today. Photo by striking driver Al, who texted “Tell the kids I miss them!”)

No word of new negotiations in the school-bus drivers’ strike against First Student, so Tuesday will be Day 4. Seattle Public Schools, which contracts with First Student for yellow-bus service, says in its newest update that some drivers have reported to work:

Some First Student drivers have decided not to strike. As they report to work, we are asking First Student to prioritize bus routes that serve students in special education and those in underserved communities (e.g. Title I schools). As of Monday, Feb. 5, about 70 of the 395 regular First Student drivers had completed approximately 260 daily routes (including both bell tiers).

For now, the best course of action is urging both sides to find middle ground.

The drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 174, says in an update today that “adequate, affordable health care” is the main issue. First Student contends it’s offering a “fair, equitable” deal. Strike side effects, meantime, include increased car traffic at schools – we tweeted a photo today taken at Boren STEM K-8 – and improvised after-school transportation, as noted by the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) on Instagram.

16 Replies to "SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE: Tuesday will be Day 4 of First Student drivers' walkout"

  • dominique February 6, 2018 (8:26 am)

    just seen a first student bus pass my house in north seattle.  Are buses running this evening.

    • Old native February 6, 2018 (11:14 am)

      What you are seeing is the slow recovery of drivers now crossing the picket lines. The offer of 8hrs pay and 25 dollar bonus is very good and since the union won’t present a vote the drivers are coming back slowly.

      The replacement interviews are proceeding also and so it is just a matter of time until 174 buckles from their bad representation and knowing First Student, with a fixed contract,’won’t eat 6.5 million in added cost per the union request. 80 percent health premium, 401k and healthy wage increase is a reasonable offer and pensions .. especially a union pension, is archaic thinking. A few days more and it will be over.

      • zark00 February 6, 2018 (12:15 pm)

        So very very wrong.

        They didn’t ask for a pension.

        They voted down the last proposal because:

        “The group was extremely dissatisfied that the Company’s proposal did not
        include any affordable healthcare coverage for spouses or families”

        There is no ‘healthy wage increase’, there is no $6.5M added cost published anywhere.

        Stop spreading lies.  You’re clearly an anti-union shill.

        Here are some actual facts:

        In the past month alone, drivers in Southern California and Montreal,
        Canada, have launched strikes against First Student over
        contract disputes.

        First Student is a division of FirstGroup, a company based in England that has revenue of about $7 billion a year, according to the company.

        Your $6.5M figure, even if it was true, which it’s not,  is .093% of their revenue.

        • Old native February 6, 2018 (2:06 pm)

          Well.. I can see you live in your ideological  cloud and have no business acumen. You should be in the city council. I was a teamster and know the drill. yes First student does represent over 1000 districts and is a global company. It will end soon and pension,H and  W, 401k, and wages is the basis of the dispute. If it were just healthcare then it should be over as they are offered 80 percent premium coverage. I assume you would expect 100 percent premium coverage. Ahhh socialism thrives in the small minds of some.

        • unicorn February 6, 2018 (4:27 pm)

          “affordable healthcare for spouses or families”

          (is that like a unicorn, or does it actually exist?)


          currently paying $ 800/ month for health insurance for family

          maybe $ 800 / month is ‘affordable,’ I’m not sure. Doesn’t feel affordable to me, but maybe they pay that much or more? I don’t know.

  • skeeter February 6, 2018 (12:30 pm)

    Can SPS continue to say “this is a matter between First Student and Teamsters Local 174” for weeks?  Months?  Does state law require districts to provide bus service for students?  It seems to me SPS will eventually have to take ownership of this dispute.

    • WSB February 6, 2018 (12:41 pm)

      I actually will be asking the district a form of that question shortly. I was wondering if for example First Student would be considered in default of its contract with the district at some point if it can’t provide a certain percentage of service.

      • skeeter February 6, 2018 (1:04 pm)

        Thank you WSB.  That’s an excellent question and I’d be very interested in the response.  I’d love to see you digging in and asking the tough questions, not the simple questions.

        • WSB February 6, 2018 (1:06 pm)

          Simple questions are all there’s time for, much of the time, due to volume, and there are precious few of us left asking any questions at all.

      • Jon Wright February 6, 2018 (1:19 pm)

        Tracy, if you get a chance would you also please ask what, if any, liquidated damages  First Student owes SPS for failing to deliver service?

  • skeeter February 6, 2018 (12:33 pm)

    Zark, according to First Student, the union has not taken the latest proposal to the membership.  Do you know if that is correct?  I’m not trying to be a wise-guy, I honestly cannot figure out the facts.

  • m February 6, 2018 (1:11 pm)

    When one doesn’t like the benefits that are offered by his/her company, they have the right to resign and go get a different job. No? This all seems like an adult version of whining. 

  • Times Have Changed February 6, 2018 (1:45 pm)

    Who would of thought the day would come where our favorite coffee shop would become more of a priority than the transportation of our children. We will dig in our pockets to save the neighborhood hangout but supporting the people who are responsible for our children on the second most crowded roads in the nation seems to be receiving resistance. Embarrassing! 

  • West seattler February 6, 2018 (5:00 pm)

    It’s time to open up student busing to the bus charter organizations since First student has the monopoly.  Pushing the contract obligation when there are no other yellow bus companies around is pointless.  I don’t care what color the bus is as long as the driver is background checked and safe.  Lots of 20, 30, 50 and 100 passenger bus companies available to spread the wealth for 4 hours of service a day!

    • skeeter February 6, 2018 (5:37 pm)

      West Seattler – I’ve read in a couple places that First Student was the only company to bid on providing bus service to SPS.  So  it’s not possible to “spread the wealth” to competitors. 

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