The Executive Board and members of District Council 1707 AFSCME strongly support the members of ATU Local 1181 in their creditable battle against the Bloomberg Administration’s alarming and almost certainly illegal attempt to bust their union under the cloak of sham legality and their insincere concerns about the students who desperately require their services.
DC 1707 and its Head Start and Day Care locals have been fighting against this Administration since its first term. This Administration has attacked public services and its employees under the guise of savings, but the real motive is to minimize the services our children in communities of need require and undermine the wages and benefits of the workers who provide those services.
If the Bloomberg Administration did not have such an imbalanced reputation regarding the real needs of our children and working families, the public might find their arguments acceptable. But after the withering assaults on public school teachers and day care and Head Start personnel; the closing of 140 public schools and more than 100 city day care and Head Start centers; the forced termination of more than 1,000 child care employees under his Early Learn plan and other anti-child, anti-labor provisos, the Administration is doing what it does best—curtailing services for children while putting them at risk.
The Administration insists that newer, cheaper drivers and matrons would undergo rigorous standards. The public should know that currently seventy of the new hand-picked, center-based day care and Head Start vendors under Bloomberg’s Early Learn plan are not permitted to receive children because they cannot pass the guidelines and protocols of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene leaving some 5,000 eligible children without safe, affordable and quality child care.
The public, community and religious leaders and our elected officials must demand that the Administration go back to the negotiating table and preserve the seniority, wages and benefits of the Local 1181 drivers and matrons.