Rejoice, Seattle parents. After seven days without school bus service, the strike is officially over. The Teamsters union voted by a 97 percent margin Saturday to end the strike. Bus service will resume normal routes on Monday.
The vote came after the union representing the bus drivers announced Friday that it had reached a tentative agreement with First Student, the company that provides bus service for Seattle public school students.
Following Saturday's vote, the Teamsters released a statement on their website, which reads as follows:
"The new agreement is an overwhelming victory for the group of more than 400 bus drivers. Most of them did not receive healthcare through their employer and did not have access to a reasonable retirement plan. All of that changes with the ratification of this agreement.
The agreement provides quality healthcare at an affordable cost. It also provides the bus drivers with a Teamster pension plan, the first ever achieved for contracted school bus drivers in Seattle and possibly the entire country for First Student members.
'This is life-changing,'said First Student driver Olivia Moore, who has been struggling to receive treatment for cancer despite having no health insurance. 'This is what we have been fighting for. I can go to the doctor. I can retire someday. I can’t even tell you how much that means.'"
The announcement will be a relief for families who have been left scrambling for transportation for their kids during the strike — and the bus drivers, who have been advocating for affordable health care and retirement benefits for months.