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Strike Nears: School Bus Drivers’ Union and City Still Apart

January 15, 2013
Marc Bussanich

Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has not attempted to negotiate to reach an agreement one day after ATU Local 1181 announced that school bus drivers would begin striking on Wednesday, according to the union.

Local 1181’s President, Michael Cordiello, told the media today via phone conference that the union can’t reach a resolution with the Mayor because his position is based on inaccurate information.

“Despite public announcements by [Schools Chancellor] Dennis Walcott and Mayor Bloomberg, the Employment Protection Provision is perfectly legal. It has been part of contracts since 1979, and goes back even to 1965 under another name. The schools chancellor and mayor continue to hide behind a court of appeals decision that is applicable only to another industry that doesn’t have a history of EPPs,” said Cordiello.

The Employment Protection Provision ensures that veteran drivers retain their jobs when expired labor contracts are renegotiated with private bus operators. The Mayor said yesterday at a press conference that the lead judge for the state court of appeals ruled in a recent court case that the city is not legally bound to insert the EPP into new contracts that the city is currently putting out to bid.

The Mayor also said that last year’s bid for pre-school bus routes has already saved the city $95 million.

Cordiello said that the Mayor is being disingenuous on cost savings.

“The Mayor is trying to confuse New Yorkers of who is Local 1181. Our members earn on average $35,000 annually. Matrons’ starting salary is $11 an hour and $14 an hour for drivers. It takes matrons and drivers six years to reach top pay of $15 an hour and $29 an hour."

In response to whether the union membership is prepared to strike, Cordiello said, “They feel that their backs are to the walls. They’re afraid they’re going to lose their jobs, possibly 2,500 jobs by June without the EPP. They feel they must take a stand on this issue.”

 

January 15, 2013

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