Framingham

Bus Drivers' Strike Averted in Framingham, Still Possible in 2 Other Communities

Framingham, Westborough and Marlborough all use the same bus company

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Bus drivers are on the verge of a strike that would impact thousands of students across the two MetroWest school districts on Monday.

The possibility for the strike is related to contract negotiations between the bus drivers’ union -- Teamsters Local 170 -- and their employers, a private company called North Reading Transportation Bus Inc. The bus company serves Framingham, Westborough and Marlborough.

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Framingham school officials held a press conference Sunday afternoon and announced that a strike had been averted. A press conference is scheduled for 5:45 a.m. Monday morning to discuss the deal.

But the union said Sunday night that unless things change, the other two communities are still planning to strike Monday.

"To update everyone on the potential strike with NRT bus we have reached an agreement for the Framingham districts but continue to negotiate for Westborough and Marlborough. We will update when we get something or if we strike. Local 170 continues to be get this done and will stay here like we have all week," union President James Marks said Sunday night.

Marlborough School Superintendent Mary Murphy said no agreement had been reached but she remains hopeful one can be hammered out Sunday night.

The Marlborough School District posted its contingency plan on its website Sunday, warning parents to expect significant traffic delays near schools.

The Framingham School Committee and City Council had voted unanimously to re-bid the bus contract for four years starting this fall if the strike happened on Monday.

The union said in a statement that they had countered five proposals from the bus company, adding that they refuse to negotiate Marlborough and Westborough contracts. They also said the bus company’s senior vice president and director of employee relations were not at the meeting with the mayor.

Meanwhile, the company said in a statement that "the Union also rejected NRT’s proposal to hold off on the strike at all school districts if the parties were able to reach an agreement for the Framingham drivers, so that more time could be spent in negotiations.”

Both sides were scheduled to continue negotiating on Sunday.

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