School bus drivers in Tacoma approved their contract with Durham School Services on Wednesday, a company spokeswoman confirmed.
Durham is an Illinois-based private company that Tacoma Public Schools pays to transport an estimated 6,000 students each day.
Company spokeswoman Molly Hart said she did not have contract specifics. The contract expired earlier this month. Employees had previously rejected three earlier contract offers.
“Our understanding is that the vote was 67-34 in favor,” Hart added.
Durham drivers, mechanics and others are represented in Tacoma by Teamsters Local 313. Union business agent Ron Munson said the new two-year agreement with Durham means no disruption in services to the Tacoma School District.
He said the new contract contains wage and benefit increases, but health care remains an issue.
“Although we were unable to achieve health care in this round of negotiations, we will continue to strive for affordable health care for all working families,” Munson said in an email.
A group of Tacoma-based Durham drivers formed an independent group, Drivers for Decent Health Care and Safe Students, during the contract dispute. They said it’s difficult to find health care providers who accept their insurance, which qualifies as supplemental coverage. It pays, for example, $60 toward a doctor’s office visit and $600 per hospital admission.