NEW YORK (PIX11) — New York City parents can breathe a small sigh of relief as the city’s schools chancellor says a school bus strike that could have begun on Monday will not happen.
Contract negotiations are moving in a positive direction, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said on Friday. If necessary, a strike could still happen a few weeks from now, a union spokesperson warned.
“There will be no strike on Monday; that statement is accurate. However, there remains a potential strike. There is no commitment not to strike,” the union spokesperson told PIX11 News. “While we are doing everything we can to avoid a strike and negotiations are ongoing, time is running out. “
The DOE previously warned parents that a strike could impact roughly 80,000 students across 4,400 routes in the five boroughs. About 16% of school children in the city ride the bus to school, education officials said.
Drivers and workers have argued they need a new contract and higher wages.
Mayor Eric Adams told PIX11 News that he’s personally getting involved in the negotiations.
“I was really encouraged by the comments that were made by the union that they’re going to continue to be at the table, they’re going to continue to push forward. I’m going to reach out to the owners of the bus companies and say, ‘Listen, we need to land this plane. We can’t have a strike,'” Adams said.
The DOE previously said a plan has been put in place to issue MetroCards and car service reimbursements for eligible students if a strike does occur. However, some parents are anxious about the backup plan. A parent told PIX11 News that getting into the pre-paid Uber program, which is occasionally used to solve bus problems by the district, is a mess.
“It may not work for anyone honestly. I just checked my account right now and I don’t have a ride share code there. When I needed a ride share in the summer, they had to issue me a manual code for route outage,” parent Rima Izquierdo said.
Children in New York City public schools went back to class for their first day on Thursday.