Thursday, January 17, 2013

'School Bus Drivers Gearing Up for Planned Strike'

NEW YORK CITY — Thousands of school bus drivers were preparing to report to picket lines Wednesday morning, as both sides continued to dig in their heels hours before a threatened strike that would leave 150,000 students without rides.

A day after a press conference announcing their plans, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 president Michael Cordiello said it members still intend to strike, beginning at 6 a.m.

“The administration has still made no attempt to come to the table,” Cordiello told reporters during an afternoon conference call.

“We tried every option to avoid a strike, but our members feel their back is to the wall."

Instead of boarding buses, the drivers and matrons represented by the union intend to gather at bus depots to picket what they argue is an attempt by the Bloomberg administration to strip employee protections they say ensure experienced drivers don't get pushed out.

The strike, which has been threatened for weeks, stems from the Department of Education's decision to bid out new driver contracts for the first time in 33 years on 1,100 bus routes for children with special needs.

The city's busing costs have spiked from $71 million in 1979 to $1.1 billion today, according to the DOE, which argues the approximately $6,900 per student could be better spent in the classroom.

But the union is furious the new contracts would eliminate guaranteed job protections for their 7,700 existing workers — protections city officials insist they are legally barred from offering, because of a previous court ruling.

The union, however, disagrees, and says it plans to strike until the administration changes its tune.

Leaders have declined to say how long the strike could last, but noted the last strike lasted 14 weeks.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg reacted to Monday's threatened strike with outrage, calling it "irresponsible and misguided."

“With its regrettable decision to strike, the union is abandoning 152,000 students and their families who rely on school bus service each day," he said in a statement, noting that the city is now beginning to put contingency plans in place.

School bus companies have also spoken out against the strike, which they claim isn't fair because drivers work for them — not the city.

The New York City School Bus Contractors Coalition called the ATU strike "an unlawful secondary strike" and said Monday it would unfair labor practice charges.

The impending strike has left parents across the city scrambling to figure out how to get their children to school.
Already, many have been keeping their kids home from school this week for fear of a mid-day strike, said Sarah Valeri, an art therapist at the Jewish Guild for the Blind where she works with special education students who are transported by DOE buses.

Administrators there are expecting no more than ten kids to attend classes tomorrow out of a class of 50, she said.
"I know it's going to be a huge difficulty for parents," she said.

Carin van der Donk, a parent and founder of Common Sense Busing, said she and others parents had been communicating via a giant email chain, trying to work out a carpooling plan.

“It is going be intense," she said. "There’s a lot of people trying to figure out if they can get a couple hours off from work in the morning."

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130115/new-york-city/school-bus-drivers-gearing-up-for-planned-strike#ixzz2IEx2olJU


Anonymous said...

thank you for shielding Luka.

JoJo said...

Glad Carin's taken up the fight. I know i'll get flack for this, but I think that unions are ruining America. I understand the need for them of course...I used to belong to IBEW & Russell was a Teamster. But I'm sick of them penalizing the public, storming off in a snit if you will, because they don't get everything they want.

marian kaplan said...

Jo JO you may choose whomever you prefer to work for.

So I would assume, Management/Moguls would be your choice. Though they have the power, no matter how many years you worked and did a wonderful job, to put you on "FURLOUGH" instead of your promised holiday vacation for a week or two without your salary.
You can then meet with the labor board and that will be the end of your job.

Without the UNION's presence,the doors will be locked-as they were in 1911 at the TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY,because there was no one policing the obvious: THE LOCKED DOORS which caused 146 employees to be burnt to death.

Now because of that vicious business practice, someone is policing the safety of the working person. THE DOORS REMAIN OPEN because there are safety rules which were made when the unions
were born. The unions may not be perfect, but they are there to protect powh...there is certainly something available in their profit margin for their
employees to pay the rent.....most workers live from paycheck to paycheck no matter how hard they work to maintain their jobs.
erless POOR. Management is their to protect their profits..

Workers are being "furloughed" now since the recession....do the mat

Anonymous said...

There is a video with Carin speaking to the issue on http://nbcnewyork.com. I am glad Carin is getting involved with the cause, but please leave litle Luca at home. There is a flu epidemic and she has him out amoungst hundreds of people.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? You're judging her parenting? Without even knowing what was going on that day? Maybe she was taking him to the doctor after,maybe someone else was picking him up,maybe they had a birthday party to go to... When you live in NYC (an I do) there is always an epidemic of some sort, there are 12 million people here. It's been nice out the past week, maybe he was tired of being cooped up in the house. You really shouldnt make comments like that when you don't know the whole situation.

Anonymous said...

I am glad the weather has been nice, although that has nothing to do with the transmission of the flu. It certainly is an important cause and I am glad she is directing her energy into supporting it. With that being said, it does not mean however I would want my toddler surrounded by hundreds of people, camera men, reporters etc. No one said she was a bad parent. If she were, she would not be involved in the cause to begin with.

Anonymous said...

The kid is almost 5 years old! I have one who's two weeks younger and goes to preschool everyday, the playground, grocery shopping, etc. You can't keep your kids in a bubble at home, or they'll get really sick the first time they find a germ.

Nantz said...

Man, this wasn't meant to be a debate on Carin and Luka. I'm sure she is capable of taking care of her son. Perhaps he's had a vaccination but honestly, it's no one's business. If you read the article, it points out that many will be inconvenienced as a result of the strike and having a daily routine changed so maybe that's what's happened here.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully employers are being supportive of the fact that parents will be about two hours late to work every day.

vikeau said...

Anonymous you guys need to be numbered--its like watching a person argue with themself. I think its great that as the spouse of a celebrity that Carin feels strongly enough to come out for a cause that not only afftects her family but the families of over 150,000 students. It takes a lot to put one's privacy as well as your family's privacy in the forefront. As for having her child out in public--the best thing for a kid is to keep them away from other kids. Kids are basically germ factories. And JoJo I just read a statistic that only 11% of Americans are in Unions, the lowest point--since, I can't remember the rest of the statistic.

Nantz said...

Carin is on a special committee for busing and I believe, is their spokesperson. Good for her. I can see both sides in regards to wanting to cut costs yet in this case, seems that depriving special needs children of what is familiar and routine makes their world feel uprooted. Bloomberg is on a tear with his bizarre regulations and cuts as of late. I question his sanity.