152,000 city school kids stranded as bus drivers hit picket line

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Parents of some 152,000 school kids were left scrambling Wednesday morning, to find alternative means of transportation after 8,000 union bus drivers hit the picket line in their first strike in 34 years.

The union says the issue is not money, but job security.  In an effort to cut the annual $1.1 billion transportation costs for school children, the city has put out contract bids to 1,100 private bus companies. They do not provide Employment Protection Provisions, better known as EPPs, that provide job security.  Drivers fear losing their jobs if low bidders win contracts and provide less experienced drivers.  The city claims the courts have mandated that the job security provisions cannot be included in the contract bidding process.

School bus strike

The bus union says members feel they have no choice but to strike to ensure their demands are met.

The union claims Mayor Bloomberg has the power to reach an agreement. Bloomberg blames the union for an ill-advised walkout, “a strike against the school children of New York.” No new negotiations are scheduled.  The last time private school bus drivers staged a strike in 1979, they stayed out for three months.

The bus companies have hired non-union replacement drivers who are undergoing training and it was unclear when they would be on the job.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says the city has made contingency plans that include the issuance of free MetroCards to students, and reimbursement of transportation costs to families with special needs children.

Kindergarten children are familiar with the refrain, “The wheels on the bus go round and round.” But for now those buses remain parked as their drivers go round and round on the picket line.

6 comments

  • jeff

    there is a school bus strike because mayor mike " is a crap weasel" he destroyed nyc otb had 1000 people lose there jobs, now he uses budgetary excuses to break the transportation workers union

  • linda

    hi my name is linda and I live in ozonepark and I am one of those parents who have been affected by the bus strike I wish I was able to take my son to school which i cant because his school is in westchester because of his disibility he is a 14 yr old autistic boy and as I am typing this comment he keeps coming to me mama school and because of his lil verbal skill I have to try to find a way for him to understand we dont know when he will go to school and my worst fear that not only my son but others childern who are disable can regress all there knowledge which not only does this strike affect them but as well as the teachers who made progress with these childern.the cost for me in a cab would $214.00 daily who has that ? so I hope this mayor understand all the affect he is causing.

  • kim1buswoman

    The school bus industry is overseen by MANY government agencies with very strict rules and regulations. Simply agreeing to retain specific drivers can violate some of these rules and regulations. Those in the industry have an obligation to be familiar with the laws governing it. On the flip side, the job drivers and attendants do every day ( rain, shine, snow, 100 degrees) is under appreciated. NYS drivers and attendants are required to be very highly trained. It should be pointed out now the time it takes,and the fuel involved, ie. the total cost.

  • BXTeacher

    This is all just a shame. The mayor is attacking every union he can. I am a NYC public school teacher and today there are so many children absent, especially our special needs students. With the Mayor blaming teachers for student failure, here is another issue affecting student outcomes. The students were impacted by the hurricane and now this. If they are not here we can't educate them. I hope he stops his unprofessional behavior and put children first. I need my students here. The state exams are a few weeks away. So sad.

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