Bus drivers first to ratify contract with district

May 18, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Three contracts remain

Issaquah School Board members approved a new three-year bus drivers’ contract at their May 12 meeting.

The contract begins July 1, 2010, and expires June 30, 2013.

All contract language remains the same, except that drivers will receive a 20-cent raise per hour above the cost of living adjustment in the first year of the contract, and no raise above the cost of living adjustment in the second and third years.

“It’s wonderful to look forward to moving on to next year,” said Gina Carey, the bus drivers’ union representative.

A significant majority of the drivers’ membership voted to approve the contract, she said.

“This contract is done and I celebrate that,” said Transportation Director Jo Porter. “That work was possible because of the positive way we worked together and a building of this trust we have.

“Anytime you have a settled contract the way we did, there has to be trust on both sides.”

Teachers, educational assistants and secretaries are still working with district officials to negotiate their contracts that expire Aug. 31.

Negotiations for the last bus drivers’ contract began in spring 2007 and continued past when the contract expired that June. It took an additional nine months to negotiate the contract ratified in March 2008.

Despite an expired contract, drivers went to work in August 2007.

“Knowing we worked so hard on this last one, to me, that is what was different about this one, where we actually were agreeable to operating under the last contract,” Porter said.

Both parties went back and forth on the slight raise drivers will see.

“We went back a few times,” Carey said. “Money is tight. There are a lot of people that don’t have jobs, and to be able to have a job and get a raise in this economy is a good thing.”

With the contract out of the way, Porter said she is looking forward to coordinating with drivers about new routes beginning this fall as the district’s new boundaries take effect. That includes shifting students to new schools and creating new bus routes for Creekside Elementary School, Pacific Cascade Middle School, and Skyline and Issaquah high schools.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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