Elected officials and union leaders demonstrated by City Hall this afternoon to demand that Mayor Michael Bloomberg meet with yellow bus drivers and matrons to settle their strike for job protection and hash out a state-required evaluation system for educators with the teachers’ union.
Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 began the second week of their strike today by holding picket lines outside Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, and other locations like a bus depot in Coney Island.
The striking bus union wants the city to include Employee Protection Provisions (EPPs) in its new busing contracts, to ensure jobs for unionized senior employees.
Education officials say they cannot legally guarantee those protections. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also said that he is not responsible for negotiating, since the drivers work for private bus companies rather than the city.
While there is no movement towards resolving the issues behind the strike, the city is making moves to try and get students to school despite the work stoppage.
Roughly 150,000 public school students have been affected by the strike, including more than 50,000 in special education, and families have been forced to find alternate ways to get their children to class.
The DOE is setting up a voucher program so low-income students with disabilities can take taxis or car service to school and have it billed directly to the city, rather than have it reimbursed later.
They are also working with bus companies to allow drivers from a different union to double up as chaperones, even though chaperones usually require a certification.