Forest Lake bus drivers union files strike notice

Teamsters Local 320 has formally filed an intent to strike on behalf of Forest Lake Area Schools bus drivers and aides.

The 76 Forest Lake Schools bus drivers and aides held a news conference and picketed at the ISD 831 School Board meeting on Thursday night, according to a news release.

Bus drivers and aides declined a contract offer from the school district on Friday and authorized Teamsters Local 320 to file its strike with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.

The union said its members rejected the offer due to many unfilled driver positions resulting in the combining or canceling of routes, excessive wait times for students and unpaid hours between routes.

According to a news release from the school, the earliest the strike could legally begin is May 1.

Forest Lake Schools said in a statement that the district will “continue to work … with the bus drivers’ union to reach a contract agreement that will prevent this strike and the associated disruption to students and families.”

If a strike should happen, the district announced it will continue to keep schools open and provide educational services to students.

According to the school district, staff are working to create plans for operations if bus services are not available.