The threat of a school bus strike looms over New York City. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 represents 9,000 people who provide transportation for students on a daily basis has not confirmed or denied the possibility of a school bus workers walkout. However, reports are stating that a strike could happen as of Wednesday.
In a press release, Councilman Vincent Gentile writes:
“The dispute is simple – it’s about saving money – but the message it sends is absolutely despicable. How we treat those who care for our children reflects directly upon how we value our children. Playing chicken with the men and women who provide safe and reliable transportation to hundreds of thousands of New York City school students on a daily basis in the name of protecting the city’s bottom line is reprehensible. It is not the union treating our students as pawns but the administration!”
Gentile has asked that Local 1181 to provide at least 48 hours notice before the strike so that families have time to consider an alternative mode of transportation. Thus far, no announcements have been made.
According to a New York Times Article, “A strike could affect as many as 152,000 public and private school students who rely on yellow bus service.”
City officials have said that they would provide MetroCards and reimburse fares paid to taxis and car services for those without access to public transportation.
The threat of a strike started because the Department of Education said that it “accept competitive bids for transporting 22,500 special-needs children, who require special services. The contracts would cover 1,100 bus routes, about a sixth of the city’s total.”
As for Gentile, he is most concerned about the issues a strike would bring to parents and caregivers who rely on school bus transportation.
“This is between the union and the administration, let’s leave the kids out of it,” he said.