Bus drivers, Forest Lake Area Schools reach tentative agreement, set for vote to avoid strike Monday

Bus drivers for Forest Lake Area Schools have tentatively agreed to a contract settlement with the district.

A vote on the agreement is scheduled for Monday evening. It will avoid a transportation services strike if it’s approved. 

RELATED: Forest Lake bus drivers union files strike notice

Superintendent Steve Massey shared the following message to school district families: 

We are happy to report that mediation has been successful and we have reached a tentative contract settlement agreement with our Teamsters Local 320 bus drivers and aides union. Union representatives have committed to support this agreement for their members, who will take an official vote on approval Monday evening.

If the agreement is approved, there will be no bus driver strike and transportation services will continue to be available for our students.

We are pleased to have been able to find common ground with our valuable bus drivers and we are grateful that we have avoided the disruption a strike would have caused to families, students, the community and the bus drivers and aides.”

The union also shared the following message is response to the tentative agreement: 

“After ten plus hours of mediation today, we were able to reach a tentative agreement today between Teamsters Local 320 represented school bus drivers/aides and the Forest Lake School District-ISD 831. The tentative agreement raises the top wages for bus drivers to $22.87 an hour and $20.33 for bus aides without the previously offered 403B reduction. Additionally, the tentative agreement includes an increase to the Employer’s contribution towards health insurance. 

‘With the support of the bus drivers and aides, Teamsters were able to make improvements on wages and benefits,” says Dracy Overland, ISD 831 bus driver for 13 years. ‘After this agreement was reached, driving for Forest Lake Area Schools will remain a great place to work.’

We will be conducting a vote on Monday, May 1st with a ballot count beginning at 6pm. The negotiating committee is recommending the members vote to ratify the agreement and avert a strike previously set for Tuesday, May 2, 2023.”

The union filed an intent to strike on April 20, saying an initial offer was rejected due to many unfilled driver positions resulting in the combining or canceling of routes, excessive wait times for students and unpaid hours between routes.