Over the next few days, you will hear a lot of discussion about who came out on top. Parents and students – tens of thousands of whom have been forced to find their own way to school…will easily argue, they are the winners in the union’s decision to end the strike.
The month-long strike was clearly a gamble for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, which left more than 100,000 students, including thousands with special need, to fend for themselves in getting to and from school.
Bus drivers and matrons walked off the job in an attempt to preserve seniority preference when it’s time for a bus company to fill its staff after successfully bidding for a city contract.
On a union member conference call held early Friday evening, union leaders lashed out at Mayor Bloomberg – and essentially told members they will live to fight again by revisiting this issue after Bloomberg leaves office next year.
The Bloomberg administration is characterizing the union’s decision to end the strike as a victory, saying in a written statement quote,”In the city’s entire history, the special interests have never had less power than they do today, and the end of this strike reflects the fact that when we say we put children first, we mean it.”
But the union isn’t walking away from this scuffle with the mayor’s office empty handed…or looking the other way.
Union leadership says members who crossed the picket line during this strike will be fined.
And several expected candidates for next year’s mayoral race signed a letter today – addressed to the union – that urged an end to the strike, and pledged their support down the road, if they’re elected mayor – to keep employee protections in future contracts.
The union is now putting its efforts into cultivating a new relationship with the city’s next mayor , hoping whoever is elected — presumably one of the candidates who signed that letter — will lead the charge to persuade state lawmakers in Albany to legislate employee seniority protection language into future contacts.