The New York City school bus drivers union will go on strike beginning Wednesday morning, union president Michael Cordiello has announced.
Cordiello, who heads Local 1181 of the Amalgated Transit Union, said the union is still negotiating with city officials and is “optimistic” for an agreement but until there is a resolution, drivers will strike Wednesday. More than 8,000 drivers and matrons will be taking part.
The strike will disrupt transportation for about 152,000 students.
The union and the city have been battling over how new contracts are being drawn up for a set of bus routes. The city wants to cut transportation costs and has put about 1,100 bus contracts with private bus companies up for bid. The union is decrying the lack of employee protections, saying current drivers could suddenly lose their jobs once their contracts are up in June.
Bloomberg reiterated at a press conference earlier Monday that the union wants job protections the city cannot legally provide. Cordiello said that claim was inaccurate.
“We know it is not illegal to put it in the bid,” he said at a press conference Monday. “We will continue to push for resolution, but we cannot negotiate from a position of inaccurate information.”
During the strike, more transit officers and crossing guards would be in place to help children get to school using mass transportation, Schools Chancellor Walcott said.
The city also said reimbursements and MetroCards will be offered to parents who would need transportation alternatives.
Parents Monday were worried even before the strike was announced, though many hadn’t had time to make logistical arrangements.
“It would be very difficult for me to walk her to school because of my health condition. That would be a very difficult problem,” said Norma Melgar. “I hope they don’t strike. I haven’t made any plants at all yet.
Student Genesis Bustamante said she would have to adapt to an unfamiliar way of getting to school.
“If I don’t take the yellow bus, I’m not really sure how to get to school that easily,” she said.
For more on provisions during the school bus strike, click here.
Source: NBC 4 NY