SEATTLE — Seattle School District bus drivers who are members of Teamsters Local 174 overwhelmingly ratified a contract with First Student bosses Feb. 10 after a nine-day strike here. Teamster leaders say advances were made in getting health care coverage workers can afford, and drivers will become part of the Teamsters pension plan.
“We have a specific job to make sure students get to and from school safely,” Miguel Angel Camargo, a five-year veteran driver for First Student, told Socialist Workers Party members when we joined their picket line. “We need to be healthy and are entitled to decent health care coverage.”
Drivers said backing from the community and the teachers union helped to win the contract. On Feb. 7, Seattle Education Association members fanned out across the city to tell people about the strike. They lined street corners near their schools with signs and chanted support for the strikers’ demands.
“The Teamsters supported us in our strike a few years ago,” said Emma Klein, a teacher at Genesee Hill Elementary School, explaining that they had stood at a busy intersection in West Seattle. “We have common goals and we want to make sure the drivers have a living wage, health care and pensions.”
In recent weeks drivers employed by First Student also fought for new contracts in Southern California, Montreal, and Manchester, England.