Sumner-Bonney Lake classified staff accept contract | UPDATED

A strike was averted last night when bus drivers and nutrition workers accepted their contract, but a union representative says few people are happy.

Last night, the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District bus drivers and nutrition workers voted to accept a two-year contract, ending the threat of a strike that would have most likely derailed the school year weeks after it began.

According to Jim Payette, who represents these classified staff members, said in an earlier interview the District’s last offer to its staff was a 7.6 percent raise, retroactive to last year, plus additional benefits.

However, it was unclear at the time whether this offer would be enough to sway bus drivers and nutrition workers, who were aiming for at least a double-digit percentage raise, Payette said.

Classified staff voted yesterday, Sept. 17, to accept the contract.

It’s not known how many voted to accept the contract and how many voted to decline — Payette said management “wants to keep the vote numbers internal.”

However, “Most of our guys weren’t happy, even ones that voted for the deal,” Payette added.

“We’re very pleased to have reached a union-approved tentative agreement with International Union of Operating Engineers,” District Communications Director Elle Warmuth said in a Sept. 18 email, referring to the union that represents bus drivers and nutrition workers in the district. “The hard work and dedication of our transportation and child nutrition employees is critical in providing all students access to instruction through safe bus service, and reliable, healthy meals to support academic success.”

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