Delaware school bus drivers reach tentative deal during strike; will report to work Friday

The workers have been hashing out details related to health and retirement benefits rejecting, four offers.
NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) -- Some 60 school bus drivers in Delaware will report to work Friday after a tentative deal was reached by the workers union and their employer Thursday afternoon.

"The contract will be voted on next week based upon ratification by the membership," said Teamsters Local 326 business agent and vice-president Leonard McCartney.

The drivers spent the day on the picket line outside the bus yard.

The drivers went on strike as contract negotiations between the driver's union and their employer, First Student, soured.

"I think we did very well today," McCartney said.

The move impacted thousands of students, mainly across New Castle County school districts.

"This is a big company, and they make big money, but they don't take care of the drivers like they should," said driver Jean Smith.

The workers have been hashing out details related to health and retirement benefits rejecting, four offers.

After the latest rejection, First Student invoked a 21 day "cooling off" period, an agreement company officials said was violated by the workers when they decided to strike.

Union leaders spent the day ironing out a new agreement that would hopefully see drivers back in their buses on Friday.

Some school districts announced plans to have additional drivers cover routes so students would remain in class.

Others opted to go virtual for the entire day.

School leaders said thanks to at least a month's notice of a potential strike - they had time to prepare.

"Our goal is to get them in as fast as possible," said Superintendent New Castle Co Vo Tech School District Joseph Jones.

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