Striking Alaska school bus workers to vote on tentative deal

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A tentative agreement has been reached that could end a strike that has lasted more than a month and disrupted school bus service in an Alaska district the size of West Virginia.

Durham School Services and Teamsters Local 959 said in a statement Thursday that striking school bus workers could return to work as early as Monday if a contract is ratified over the weekend.

Negotiations resumed Thursday after more than two weeks without bargaining, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Union members, who include bus drivers, monitors and attendants, will meet over the weekend to vote.

Drivers and other bus employees have been working without an updated contract since Durham took over bus service from another provider last August. Striking workers had cited pay and safety issues as concerns.

Durham spokesperson Ed Flavin told The Associated Press on Friday the company would not have additional comment until after the vote. A message also was left with a local Teamsters spokesperson.

“Both parties look forward to working together in the future and providing full school bus service to the Mat-Su Valley,” the statement from the parties Thursday said.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District has about 19,000 students.

Durham has struggled to provide regular service since assuming the contract. The company lost more than $1.7 million in revenues through January, which district officials say reflects missed routes amid bus and driver shortages and estimated costs tied to service issues.