City's school bus union announces strike for Wednesday morning
Unless a deal is worked out Tuesday, more than 150,000 New York City kids are going to have hard time getting to school Wednesday.
Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents more than 8,000 city school bus workers, announced Monday that they would go on strike after the city failed to meet their contractual demands.
Michael Cordiello, the union's president, said his members won't go to work unless Mayor Michael Bloomberg offers employee protection provision, or EPP, in the bids.
"We think competition is OK, but for the safety of the children of New York, you have to provide the best drivers," he said.
Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott called the union's actions irresponsible but said they are prepared to make sure the 152,000 affected students get to their classes on time.
Parents will receive MetroCards from their schools or can have their mileage reimbursed 55 cents per mile if they have to use a car to get to school.
Bloomberg acknowledged the contingency plan may not be the best option for parents and discouraged them from keeping their kids at home.
"Even with all these measures in place, however, a systemwide strike would present significant challenges for students and families," he said.
The city's Department of Education issued bids for 1,100 bus contracts for the first time in 33 years.
The mayor said the city pays more than a billion dollars a year on buses for student and the new contracts would save the citymillions.
The union said EPP would ensure experienced drivers are behind the wheel.