The ongoing school bus driver strike saw two developments today: This afternoon, after school let out, teachers and other members of the Seattle Education Association joined drivers on the picket line. The union and driver contractor, First Student, also announced they have scheduled their first bargaining meeting since the strike began last week.
Here's the scene at one of the picket lines where teachers expressed solidarity with the bus drivers:
In a statement about the meeting with the company, the union, Teamsters 174, said, "We are hopeful that this meeting will bring us closer to a resolution to this strike."
First Student also issued a statement about the meeting but showed little indication it plans to offer drivers better health insurance. Last month, the company offered drivers two different deals. Union members rejected the first offer. Union leadership said the second one was not different enough and did not present it for a membership vote.
In a statement today, the company said it was meeting with the union and a mediator "with the hope that the union will bring our health care and retirement package to its members for a vote."
"We care deeply about our drivers and we feel that the negotiated package is fair and equitable, providing a living wage and benefits program for our employees," the statement said, adding later, "We remain hopeful that the union will take a closer look at our offer tomorrow and end the strike that is causing so much hardship for Seattle Public Schools families and our drivers.”