New Haven bus drivers went on strike after First Student refused to discuss contract negotiations. They going back to work on Friday, but might strike again if next week's talks fail.
New Haven public school students will get bussed to school Friday morning, but their ride might not be guaranteed for long.
“The bus drivers will be at work tomorrow morning,” said Kevin Mercik, rep for CSEA/SEUI Local 2001, said on Thursday.
More than 100 bus drivers walked off the job on Thursday, after representatives from First Student refused to discuss contract negotiations with union members.
However, both sides gathered in New Haven on Thursday evening to discuss the bus drivers’ contract, which hasn’t been renewed since late June.
Bus drivers said they want better wages and benefits.
“We are seeking fair pay, better medical coverage,” said Brian Micknak.
The two sides didn’t reach a deal during Thursday’s meeting.
“We would have loved to have ratified a contract ... but that was not possible,” stated Micknak.
However, some bus drivers said progress is being made.
“They’re finally willing to talk to us about higher wages and additional holiday pay,” said Ann Nelson.
Future talks are in the works.
Officials from First Student said it’s committed to resolving the situation; and while bus drivers and their union said they want to continue their vital service of bringing 18,000 students to and from school every day, they are prepared to walk off the job again if they don’t reach a deal with First Student.
“A strike is still on the table, and we would rather not. We’d rather be driving the buses, we’d rather be carrying the kids,” said Mercik.
A representative of the New Haven public school district said they’re relieved bus service will be undisturbed for tomorrow. Bus drivers and First Student are expected to resume talks Monday morning.