After Monthlong Strike, School Bus Drivers Return to Work
Several drivers could not locate their buses. Some of the big yellow rigs seemed ill prepared for the roads, with no license plates or inspection stickers. At a bus depot in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a driver for Reliant Transportation turned a key in his vehicle’s ignition, but it failed to start.
“I’m looking for any bus that works,” said the driver, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared running afoul of his employer.
On top of that, scores of matrons – who work with drivers from a separate union on buses that transport students with special needs – showed up at their depot in Brooklyn only to learn they were apparently unwelcome since teams of replacement workers had been hired by their bus company employer.
It was before dawn on Wednesday and drivers and other workers who are some of the 8,800 members of New York City’s main union for bus drivers, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, were back on the job after ending a strike that started about a month ago over job protection issues. Though many drivers said it felt good to be working again, their early hours were defined by chaos, confusion and – some drivers said – possibly missed pickups of students who might have given up waiting on cold corners for a ride.