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Seattle school bus drivers vote to end weeklong strike

SEATTLE – Seattle school bus drivers are going back to work following a weeklong strike.

Teamsters Local 174, which represents the 400 drivers, says they voted Saturday to accept a new contract. They return to work Monday.

The Seattle Times reports that the agreement with the bus company First Student includes expanded benefits and comprehensive health-care coverage for drivers and their families. Labor officials said the contract also provides drivers with a Teamster pension plan, which they characterized as the first for contracted school-bus drivers in Seattle.

The union went on a one-day strike in November. Contract talks then continued through the end of January, when the drivers declared a strike.

The drivers told of having to declare bankruptcy or live paycheck to paycheck, either because their health-care plan was unaffordable or because they couldn’t get enough hours to be considered full-time.

Bus drivers are paid between $18 and $25 an hour, and those who work at least 30 hours a week are eligible for health-care benefits.


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