Reps from Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union say the strike is For the Children™, natch. The claim is that it would be unsafe for kids if drivers don’t have guaranteed job security. But many aren’t buying the trumped-up feel-goodery about child safety and are calling out the selfish union protectionism.
Mr. Bloomberg accused the union of abandoning the students who rely daily on the transportation service.
“The union’s decision to strike has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with job protections that the city legally cannot include in its bus contracts,” he said. “We hope that the union will reconsider its irresponsible and misguided decision to jeopardize our students’ education.”
The union said the decision for its 8,800 drivers and matrons to strike — the first since a 13-week strike in 1979 — was essentially about children’s safety. It argued that the strike was necessary to preserve job protection for the most experienced yellow-bus drivers when transportation vendors who employ them lose city contracts.
Those job-security measures will not be included in the competitive bids that the city is soliciting for 1,100 of its routes, or about a sixth of the total number of routes. The cost of all the city’s routes has mushroomed to $1.1 billion annually from about $100 million a year in 1979.
As Travis points out, that works out to $6,900 per student. No wonder NYC is going broke! The closest comparable large city with yellow bus transportation is Los Angeles and they pay a paltry $3,124 per student – less than half of what NYC is paying.
Not all the bus drivers are part of the same union.
The strike was expected to impact about 8,000 drivers and matrons from 1181, who make up about 70 percent of the city’s driver force.
But the DOE reported that some drivers from other unions, who showed up for work Wednesday, were prevented from driving routes when union members blocked their buses from leaving stations, forcing police to intervene.
The union should be ashamed of their actions and the best outcome would be to have all yellow school bus transportation handled by private companies (that don’t have former Department of Education commissioners on their executive board).
DNAinfo has a useful guide available: How to get your kids to school during the bus strike