WENATCHEE — Wenatchee School District bus drivers, whose contract expired Sept. 1, are hosting a sign-waving rally Friday at the corner of Orondo and Chelan avenues to bring attention to negotiations.
“We provide professional service and are dedicated to every student that rides on our bus. That has been, and always will be, our first priority,” said Andrew King, a school bus driver and president of Wenatchee Bus Drivers Chapter of Public School Employees of Washington SEIU Local 1948. “It is also important that the bus drivers who do so much for our students, receive a fair contract that preserves the integrity of the professional work that we do each and every day.”
King said community members are invited to wear blue and join in the rally, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The group, which includes about 30 bus drivers, also is planning to rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the corner of Ferry and Mission streets and at 5:30 p.m. at the Wenatchee School District office before the regular school board meeting. The bus drivers also were in attendance, with signs in hand, at the Jan. 14 board meeting.
On Wednesday, the group will be waving signs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Fifth and Mission.
“The process of negotiating a contract is slow and at times difficult, but it is our hope that we can work together with the district to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable,” King said. “We are dedicated to achieving that goal and appreciate the community’s support.”
Wenatchee School District spokeswoman Diana Haglund on Thursday said a contract proposal was forwarded to the union earlier this week.
“We feel that significant movement was made toward reaching a mutually agreed upon contract,” she said. “We are surprised the drivers have chosen to picket instead of responding to our most recent proposal. It is our hope that an equitable contract agreement can be reached in the near future.”