Potential school bus driver strikes that threatened to impact thousands of students in New York City and Toronto have been averted this week.
In Canada, the Toronto District School Board alerted parents on Tuesday that transportation provider First Student was in negotiations with school bus driver union Unifor Local 4268, and the union was in a legal strike position.
The union set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. District officials said in the Tuesday message to parents that if an agreement was not reached or negotiations were not extended, the union might strike.
More than 40 schools under the Toronto District School Board as well as more than 40 schools under the Toronto Catholic District School Board could have been affected by a disruption in service.
“In the event of a strike, we regret that there will be no school buses on routes being serviced by this division and your child would be without a school bus for the duration of the strike,” the Toronto District School Board wrote. “With that in mind, we encourage parents to begin to plan alternate arrangements for transportation should there be a strike (e.g. researching public transit, carpooling, working with others in school community).”
Still, district officials said they remained hopeful that an agreement could be reached between First Student and Unifor Local 4268 without a strike.
Their hope was fulfilled: On Thursday, the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board announced that the transportation provider and the driver union had reached a tentative agreement. School buses were expected to operate as normal on Thursday and until full ratification.
Meanwhile, another large-scale school bus driver strike was averted in New York City this week.
The NYC Department of Education announced on Monday night that Jofaz Transportation and Y&M Transit had reached a tentative agreement with their school bus drivers' union, Teamsters Local 553. All buses were expected to continue operating as usual.
“We are grateful to families and educators for their patience and support as we prepared contingency plans to ensure transportation options for students,” the NYC Department of Education said in a statement.