PREVIOUSLY: Union negotiator says DPS is forcing drivers out
Both sides said they are very happy that students’ education would not be disrupted.
“It’s vitally important for them to be able to get to school, and we’re happy that we’ve averted a strike,” Harris said.
Neither side would comment yet on the details of the final agreement. Gollings said there have been “a lot of changes” from previous tentative agreements the sides had reached. The full membership of the drivers union had voted down those previous pacts that had been reached by negotiators on both sides.
LAST FALL: On-time performance improves for Dayton school buses
The final deal is a three-year contract, but since it is back dated to the start of the school year, it will expire in summer 2020.
The parties’ previous tentative agreement had offered 10 to 15 percent raises to the drivers, which would take their starting pay from $13.85 per hour to roughly $15.75. That’s still lower than most surrounding districts, but DPS officials said better benefits and more guaranteed hours per day make up for the wage gap.
Gollings said the drivers had four concerns about the previous tentative agreement – how retroactive raises or bonuses would be handled for this school year, the pay scale that was settled on, how “extra duty hours” were parceled out to drivers, and practices where drivers were asked to go past the end of their shift.
LAST CONTRACT: Timeline of DPS’ 2015 strike threat from drivers
This process is similar to what happened in April 2015, when a DPS bus strike was averted with 10 hours to spare after a tense, two-week standoff. In both cases, the drivers’ contract had expired the previous summer, but drivers continued working while negotiations continued through the school year.
“We’d like to thank all the parents of Dayton for their support, and we’d like to thank the kids that we take to school,” Gollings said. “Their drivers will be back on Tuesday – they don’t have to worry about it being somebody different (behind the wheel).”