School bus union furious after mayor rejects proposal to end strike
The union representing striking school bus workers blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday for rejecting a deal that may have ended the two-week stoppage.
Michael Cordiello, president of the Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said his 8,000 members would have gone back to work immediately if the city agreed to their request to freeze the bids for 1,000 school bus contracts.
Larry Hanley, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said the union, the school bus companies and the city would set up meetings during the "cooling down" period and talk about their issues.
"What we're saying to him is 'Freeze frame. We want to have a discussion,' " Hanley said.
A spokeswoman for Bloomberg said postponing the bids would be the wrong move because it would not solve the problem of the growing cost of school buses, which is $1.1 billion annually.
"The union is irresponsibly holding our students and city hostage over issues that can only be resolved by negotiating directly with the bus companies," the mayor's spokeswoman said in a statement.
Bloomberg said he couldn't oblige the union's demand for an employee protection provision in the bids because the courts deemed the provision illegal.