Seattle school buses will be back on roads after one-day strike
SEATTLE -- Bus drivers are expected back on the road Thursday morning after a one-day strike in Seattle.
At least 150 drivers, employed by First Student, were protesting what they call unfair labor practices. Roughly 400 drivers got wage increases last year but they’re still negotiating healthcare and retirement plans with their employer.
“We are the job. If they don't have us they can't do anything,” said driver Olivia Moore.
In a statement released on Monday, First Student wrote that they offered union members additional funding for healthcare and retirement, but union leadership rejected it. A union spokeswoman said the offer was nowhere near sufficient.
The negotiations are creating so much tension that the peaceful protest on Wednesday morning turned into a police investigation. A bus driver pulling out of the South Park bus lot drove through the picket line into the crowd of protesters.
“By law we're told we’re allowed to stop them for two minutes and let them through. It's supposed to be peaceful. Why would they make it violent,” said a tearful Moore.
Luckily, no one was seriously hurt. One person was treated at urgent care. Seattle Police did get statements from witnesses.
Meanwhile, Seattle Public Schools encouraged families to walk, use public transportation, or carpool if their bus driver was on strike.
“I support our bus drivers. I think that people who work with children should be compensated fairly, and they have a hard job to do,” said parent Alicia Every, who used her van to carpool kids to and from school on Wednesday.
“I work part-time. My friends work full-time and I contacted them because I know they can't leave work,” Every said.