New York — On Friday, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union threatened to begin a strike that would leave over 100,000 public and private school students without necessary transportation to and from school. Councilman Greenfield is condemning the work stoppage threat and encouraging parents to have a contingency transportation plan. Most yeshivas in New York City receive publicly-funded transportation and would be impacted by the strike.
Local 1181, the union representing school bus drivers, is threatening to cease serving all public and private school students, because of objections over the bidding for a contract to transport special education pre-K and pre-school students, which expires in June.
When the city recently issued a request for bids on the new contract, it did not include what is called an “Employee Protection Provision,” or a clause that grants bus drivers seniority rights similar to those that civil service employees receive. On Friday, the Department of Education explained that a recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals actually prohibits the City of New York from inserting an Employee Protection Provision into a contract.
Councilman Greenfield believes that Local 1181′s demands are unprecedented and incompatible with the law. “This illegal strike would create chaos for schools throughout New York City,” Greenfield said. “Instead of bargaining in good faith, Local 1181 is using coercive tactics that would harm families, disenfranchise students, and strain our public transportation system.”
According to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the city is filing a request with the National Labor Relations Board to seek a federal injunction against this potential strike. The Mayor and schools chancellor also announced several contingency plans in case of a work stoppage. Per a letter that Chancellor Dennis Walcott sent to principals and parents, the following are alternatives that school children will have in case of a strike:
· Students who currently receive yellow bus service from a designated school bus stop to school will be issued Metrocards to get to school.
· Parents of all children in grades K-2 may also request a Metrocard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.
· Pre-school and school-age children who have an IEP requiring transportation from their home directly to their school have three options:
1. Parents may use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school and will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that include a receipt for provided services.
2. Parents may drive their children to school and be reimbursed at a rate of 51 cents per mile.
3. Parents may also request a Metrocard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.
· Field trips using yellow bus service will be cancelled if there is a bus service disruption.
· After school programs will remain open, but no busing will be provided.
“Parents should know that they have options in the event that this illegal strike goes forward,” explained Councilman Greenfield. “We will not be intimidated by Local 1181′s threats, and we will be prepared if they decide to break the law and strand our students.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)