October 2, 2015
By Tara Jessup
New York, NY – Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181 members voted 894-42 on September 30th to authorize the union to strike in response to SNT, Boro and ANJ’s refusal to negotiate in good faith over wages and benefits.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to remove Employee Protection Provisions (EPP) from union contracts has since created chaos in the school bus industry and has caused massive layoffs of experienced safe drivers, matrons and mechanics, while driving down wages and benefits throughout the industry.
Boro, SNT and ANJ were recently given lucrative 3-year extensions worth half a billion dollars on their current contracts with the City to provide school bus services. However, after nine negotiating sessions, SNT, Boro and ANJ bus lines have refused to budge from an offer of nominal wage increase for workers (who have not received wage increases in 3 years) and a drastic cut to medical benefits.
“Nearly three years ago, ATU Local 1181 negotiated our current contracts in good faith with these companies based on the fact that the disruption caused by Mayor Bloomberg’s removal of the EPP’s made it unclear as to whether or not the company would be able to remain in business,” said ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello. “Today not only are these companies still in business, but they are more profitable than ever. It is disgusting that despite their success, these companies would push to cut drivers and matrons’ medical benefits and refuse to offer a fair wage increase.
”The vote taken on September 30th by the union authorizes union leadership to call a strike if negotiations with the companies do not make progress. This vote is not a city-wide strike authorization, but applies only to employees of these companies represented by ATU Local 1181.