First Student school bus drivers strike Wednesday in Seattle

Teamsters 174: Company illegally imposed inferior health plan


The following is from Teamsters Local 174:

SEATTLE (Nov. 29, 2017) — In an effort to mitigate any hardship faced by Seattle parents, Teamsters Local 174 announced on Tuesday that there will be a one-day strike today, November 29, 2017, by the group of more than 400 First Student school bus drivers that will impact all yellow bus service to the Seattle School District. The Unfair Labor Practice strike will protest First Student’s unilateral change and implementation of an inferior medical plan for its employees — an illegal action under the National Labor Relations Act, as health care is the subject of negotiations and cannot be changed without bargaining with the employees’ union.

Teamsters Local 174 does not typically announce strikes in advance; however, in this case, the union and its members wished to give Seattle parents adequate notice to make arrangements for their children. Bus service should resume on Thursday, Nov. 30; however, a longer strike can be called at any time if a deal is not reached.

First Student and the Teamsters have been in negotiations over health care and retirement security since July of this year, but to date, First Student has shown little effort to reach a deal with its employees. The vast majority of school bus drivers do not have any health care through their employer, and none of the drivers have an adequate retirement plan. As part of a contract deal reached with the Teamsters last year, a decision was made to delay discussion of health care and retirement benefits for one year. The intervening year was meant to allow First Student an opportunity to settle its new contract with the Seattle School District and lobby for additional funds to cover health care and retirement benefits for drivers. First Student did not hold up its end of the deal.

“This company has shown over and over again that they do not value our members, and quite frankly, they do not value Seattle’s families either,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “First Student has had every opportunity to prevent this from happening, but instead of taking action to protect Seattle families from the headache of a strike, they have sat smugly back and continued to offer nothing of substance to our members at the bargaining table. Now they have committed Unfair Labor Practices related to the very issues they are supposed to be bargaining with us. They have left us no other choice.”

“It is our sincere hope that this one-day strike will show First Student and the Seattle School District that our members are serious about addressing the disgraceful lack of decent healthcare at this company,” Hicks continued. “If we need to take this group out on strike again, the chaos and disruption will not last just one day.”

Parents of children in the Seattle School District who ride the bus to school are encouraged to make alternate transportation arrangements, as bus service throughout the School District will be impacted.

TAKE A STAND — For anyone who would like to show support to the striking drivers, there will be active picket lines outside of First Student bus yards in Lake City and South Park.

First Student – South Park Bus Lot:
8249 5th Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98108

First Student – Lake City Bus Lot:
13525 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98125

Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 7,200 working men and women in the Seattle area. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.

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