School Bus Union Weighs Calling Off Monthlong Strike
Leaders of the largest union for New York City school bus drivers are considering whether to end their monthlong strike, potentially handing a victory to the Bloomberg administration, which had refused to give in to the unionís demands for job protections.
The union, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, was scheduled to hold a conference call among members this evening to discuss whether to call off the strike, which began Jan. 16. Public schools resume classes on Wednesday next week, which was originally a holiday week but was changed because of school days lost to Hurricane Sandy.
The strike has affected more than 100,000 students, tens of thousands of them children with special needs, and their parents, who often travel long distances to get to the schools. Attendance has been down sharply at special-education programs, with many students staying home during the strike.
The job action has also become a hardship for the drivers. Members have stood in the cold on picket lines in far corners of the city, watching in some cases as replacement workers did their jobs. Many expressed concerns about their health coverage running out. And they are being paid only $150 to $300 a week from union strike funds.
On the one hand, I hear the drivers' positions on Bloomberg's bidding-out process. But the NYTimes' early articles, about special-needs kids having their "routines" completely blown-up on account of major occupational & monetary disagreements among adults, were pretty rough.
Hope the drivers can get back to work, and the kids back to their good old Big Yellow Buses -soon.