UPDATE: The union representing striking school bus drivers in Las Cruces announced late Thursday afternoon that it would return to the bargaining table.
As a result, officials said the buses would operate their regular routes on Friday morning.
Bus drivers left their picket lines at 3:45 p.m. after being informed by their union leaders of a resumption of contract negotiations.
Union officials told ABC-7 that the strike was “on hiatus” for the time being, with negotiations to resume with the help of a federal mediator.
“Our drivers and attendants have chosen to return to work not only to demonstrate our willingness to find solutions to this current strike, but more importantly to honor our deep commitment to the students of Las Cruces Public Schools”, Las Cruces Transportation Federation (LCTF) # 6341 said President Dean Abrams in a late afternoon statement.
But he also cautioned: “… let’s be clear: unless a just solution is found, further disruption to student transportation could occur if STS-NM leaves us with no other option to resolve this dispute. . “
ORIGINAL REPORT: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Union bus drivers at Las Cruces public schools quit their jobs Thursday morning in their first-ever strike amid a contract dispute over wages and working conditions.
Picket lines were set up as soon as the students’ morning drop-offs at school were over.
The approximately 80 drivers are employed by Student Transportation Services of New Mexico, which contracts with LCPS to provide transportation services.
In a statement just before the strike began, LCPS said:
“In the event of a strike, LCPS will contact you immediately so that you can arrange alternative transportation if your child takes the bus. Students absent due to lack of transportation will be excused and will be able to access homework and materials. educational via Canvas Special education students who depend on transportation as stated in their individualized education program will always be picked up at their usual stop and time. Please see our website, lcps.net for more information as it becomes available. “