The Latest: Deal reached to end Providence school bus strike

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Latest on the school bus strike in Providence (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says a tentative deal has been reached to end a school bus strike that has lasted more than two weeks.

Elorza says bus company First Student and the Teamsters union that represents drivers say they reached a tentative agreement Friday.

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He says the details of the agreement are still being finalized, and that members of the Teamsters Local 251 must ratify it.

The strike began Sept. 27 and affects more than 9,000 schoolchildren. The dispute centered on retirement benefits.

First Student had released a statement earlier Friday calling on drivers to return to work Monday.

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12 p.m.

The company embroiled in a labor dispute that’s left more than 9,000 schoolchildren without buses for more than two weeks says the strike must end and says it’s ready to resume service Monday.

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Frank McMahon, a spokesman for First Student, says the Teamsters’ union strike that has shut down service to Providence schools must end Friday.

He says drivers who want to work are welcome to come back and that the company will help with drivers’ safe entrance to the bus yard. He says students, families and the city cannot keep waiting.

A spokesman for the union did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Absences have risen as students have had trouble getting to school since the strike began Sept. 27. The dispute is over retirement benefits.

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