Union representing striking Seattle school bus drivers urges fines against company First Student

SEATTLE -- The union representing striking school bus drivers on Tuesday urged the Seattle School District to fine the bus company, First Student. Meanwhile, teachers planned to help picket in support of the drivers on Wednesday afternoon.

The strike by about 400 school bus drivers against First Student started last Thursday in a bid by the drivers to get health care and retirement benefits in a new contract, and Seattle Public Schools says hundreds of students have missed classes since the strike began.

On Tuesday, Teamster Local 174 said Pegi McEvoy, Seattle Public School assistant superintendent for operations, told First Student that in the event a labor dispute caused First Student to miss bus routes, the district could be fining them up to a maximum of $1.2 million a day.

The Teamsters local said they are now calling on the school district "to follow through on that promise."

Also on Tuesday, Washington Education Association's Phyllis Campano said Seattle school teachers and classified staff will "walk out after the students leave" Wednesday and then go to five different picketing sites around the city to picket in sympathy with the striking bus drivers.

"We are hoping First student will go back to the bargaining table with the Teamsters/ bus drivers and get this settled," she said. "We will continue to support the bus drivers any way we can."