Union Leaders and City Officials Unable to Negotiate End of School Bus Strike

by Chris Williams
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School buses

See-Ming Lee, Flickr

After 2 weeks, New York City's school bus strike will continue.

Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union asked for a "cooling off period" of 60 to 90 days during which strikers would go back to work if the city postponed bids on private bus contracts.

Union President Michael Cordiello says the city rejected this idea and there were no alternatives offered.

"We need to get to the table with the city and the contractors, and have meaningful discussions on how we end the strike," he says, "Get those kids back on safe buses, and that's what needs to be done."

The city says it's seeking competitive bids for some bus routes to save money. Larry Hanley is the union's international president. He says putting the contracts out to bid will not save money, as the city suggests and that the costs come from elsewhere.

"We need to have a carefully thought out discussion about do the routes make sense? Our drivers tell us they run inefficient routes. We have no control over that, we want to have that dialogue, but we can't do it just talking to ourselves."

The Bloomberg administration says this issue can only be brought up with the bus companies. The City cannot legally negociate the the job protections the union is demanding.

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