School bus drivers return with new contract vote next week

Betsy PriceEducation, Headlines

Delaware schools plan to help students with summer and other programs.


Christina and Appoquininimink school district buses ran as normal Friday morning as drivers returned to work after a one-day strike with a new contract to vote on next week.

They were among the systems disrupted when Teamsters Union 326 bus drivers went on strike Thursday after contract negotiations with First Student Transportation failed.

The move had Appoquinimink, New Castle Vo-Tech, Christina Districts and some charter schools — which had about a month notice about a possible strike — moving fast to get kids into class.

The drivers had negotiated better pay, but wanted better healthcare and a pension plan in addition to their 401K.

Late Thursday, 326 vice president Leonard McCartney said the company has improved its offer and that the drivers would vote on the contract next week.

In the meantime, they were to report to work Friday.

The strike led the VoTech schools to turn to virtual classes.

Appo had buses running three routes instead of two, meaning some students had to get to schools early and stay much later than normal so everybody could be in class.

Delcastle and Hodgson students in Christina were expected to follow their normal scheduleĀ  Thursday, whether they could get to school on their own or had to work from home.

Lilian Miles called the tentative agreement “better than a cooling off period,” which the company had said they would try to institute before drivers walked off the job.

The district told parents Thursday night that buses would return Friday and resume their normal schedules.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding today,” said Tom Poehlman, director of safety, security and operations in an email to parents.



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