September 6, 2013
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Last Thursday August 29, 2013, in a major victory for ATU Local 1181 bus drivers and matrons, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the federal district court of Eastern District of New York ruled that New York City bus company operators unlawfully imposed their so-called "best and final," offer which dramatically slashed drivers' and matrons' wages and benefits by thousands of dollars per worker.
In her ruling, Judge Matsumoto ordered the companies to return to the bargaining table they abandoned in March; bargain in good faith with the union; rescind the wage and benefit cuts and all other terms and working conditions previously imposed by the companies; and restore the wages, benefits and working conditions in effect at the time the companies imposed their cuts.
“Though last week’s decision was a tremendous victory for the hard-working schoolbus drivers and matrons of our city, much work still needs to be done,” said ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello. “New York City’s schoolbus drivers and matrons are tasked with safely transporting our children every day and through the actions of City Hall and the bus companies, experienced and professional drivers are being driven out of their jobs and into poverty. I look forward to sitting down with these bus companies as they finally engage our union in good faith bargaining for a fair contract. Additionally, we continue to call on the Mayor and the Chancellor to reinstate the Employee Protection Provisions into future contracts and restart the bidding process for those contracts in which it was stripped out.”
Last winter Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bucking 50 years of precedent, removed the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) from the City’s special education busing bids, claiming that a recent court decision had rendered them illegal. The move touched off a month-long strike that cost the city millions of dollars. Recently during a Department of Education hearing Chancellor Dennis Walcott admitted that the court case the city had been referencing made no such claim regarding the legality of the EPP’s. A state court judge recently found that the EPPS were not illegal.