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Hundreds of Miami-Dade bus drivers played hooky from work Friday in an apparent strike over wages and benefits, making several students late and leaving some stranded at bus stops. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo has the story.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he expects school buses to operate normally Monday following Friday's no-show of hundreds of drivers over frustrations related to wages and benefits.
Carvalho and district administrators held conversations and meetings with the leadership of the AFSCME chapter that represents the bus drivers on Saturday and Sunday to ensure there would be no repeat of Friday, when 242 out of 1,300 bus drivers didn't show up for work, leaving some students stranded at bus stops or late for school.
"The school district and union leaders agreed that the priorities for both groups would be the safe, secure, timely transportation of school students, and expediting collective bargaining efforts in the next few days to explore salary increases and the mitigation of health care insurance costs," the district said in a statement.
The bus drivers were asking for a 17 percent increase in their health benefits for this year. Increased benefits costs kicked in Jan. 1.
Automated messages are being sent to parents to keep them updated on developments and offer assistance and contacts, if necessary, the district said.
The district also sent a message to all its employees Sunday.
"You are a valuable member of the M-DCPS family. We understand your frustration. We remain willing and able to go back to the bargaining table with your union to hopefully reach an agreement which will resolve your concerns with salary and health insurance costs," the message read. "We know you will be at work every day because you are consummate professionals and you care about the children you serve."