Mayor Bloomberg warns parents to get ready for the looming school bus strike.
"Thousands of parents braced for a crippling school bus strike set for Wednesday as bus companies prepared for possible friction on the picket line," added The New York Daily News.
The drivers union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, announced the strike Monday, defying Mayor Bloomberg and upping the stakes in a showdown that could last weeks or even months, added the report.
"The private bus companies the city hires to transport kids began bringing in replacement workers and said an increased police presence is already in place at bus yards in Hunts Point, the Bronx, and Jamaica, Queens," stressed The Daily News.
“No doubt they will have trouble getting past the picket lines,” said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the companies. “At the same time, we will do our very best to safely operate during the strike and call on the union to conduct peaceful and responsible picket lines.”
"Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared the education of city students using school buses would be "jeopardized" by impending strike. Transit Workers Local 1181 has demanded new contracts that offer job protection based on seniority though the city claims it is too expensive," adds the report.
On Monday, Bloomberg warned the strike could harm more than 152,000 students who ride yellow buses. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the city was prepared to hand out MetroCards to affected students and would reimburse parents forced to use taxis for their children. Students who arrive late to class because of the strike will not be penalized, adds the report.
“While we remain optimistic, we are here to announce that Local 1181 will strike beginning Wednesday,” declared Michael Cordiello, the union’s president to the media.
The confrontation comes because the city is set to bid out some of its contracts with the private firms that bus students to school.
"Most of the contracts haven’t been bid on since 1979, even after the industry was linked to organized crime, and Bloomberg says they’re among the most expensive school bus contracts in the nation.The union wants the city to guarantee its drivers seniority-based job protection under the new contracts," according to The Daily News.
So Staten Island parents and teachers, like it or not, a strike is looming. Let's see us band together and make other arrangements for the borough's school children.