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Minneapolis school board approves agreement with bus drivers, averts strike

12January 2022

The Minneapolis school board on Tuesday approved an agreement with a union representing about 100 Minneapolis school bus drivers, about two months after the union threatened to strike if their demands over pay and working conditions weren’t met.

The three-year agreement with Teamsters Local 320 creates a new salary schedule with varying wage increases designed to “notably improve” wages, according to the agreement summary.

Drivers will receive an increase of $2.00 to $2.81 per hour in the first year of the contract as well as step increases and a 2% cost-of-living-adjustment over the span of the contract, according to a Teamsters 320 Facebook post.

“This is a great victory for drivers and the District met our demands,” says Brian Aldes, Teamsters Local 320’s secretary treasurer and principal officer. “Our bargaining committee was effective along with the collaboration with other unions and our strike authorization vote.”

The agreed upon changes will amount to a 14.4% increase in annual transportation costs to the district, totaling $2.5 million over the three years.

The agreement comes as Minneapolis schools, along with other districts across the state, struggle with bus driver shortages, only exacerbated by the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

“This ensures school bus service to MPS schools will not be affected as a result of these negotiations,” a district spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday. “Our bus drivers are critical partners in supporting educational access to our schools and other student learning opportunities. We vow to continue our work with drivers to meet the transportation challenges we have faced this school year and may continue to face in the future.”

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