NYC School Bus Drivers Strike

By: Lauren Murphy

            On January 16, 201, more than 8,000 New York City school bus drivers and aides went on strike.[1]  The strike arose in a dispute for job security guarantees in the city contracts.[2]  This strike affected bus service for 152,000 students many of whom are disabled.[3]  The strikers are members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181[4] which is the largest bus driver union, but some of the other bus routes are still operating.[5]  The alternate routes are run by drivers or aides that are represented by other unions or non-union workers.[6]  These workers on the alternate routes account for forty percent of the routes, which are still currently running.[7] Mayor Bloomberg is accommodating the people affected by the strike by providing them with free mass transit passes or reimbursement for travel to and from school.[8]

Members of the striking union attempted to picket in front of the gates to the four bus vendors of the non-union and other union bus companies.[9]  Blocking these gates would prohibit these buses from picking up students on their routes, thus preventing the drivers from doing their jobs, and the students from getting to school. These pickets were moved when police eventually intervened.[10]

Mayor Bloomberg argues that the purpose for this strike is illegitimate because the workers are striking for guarantees that the union cannot have, and the protections they are seeking do not exist in any other part of the country.[11] He bases this statement off of the decision in L&M Bus Corp. v. New York City Board of Education[12] in which the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that “employee protection provisions (EPPs) in city Education Department bid solicitations ‘are subject to heightened scrutiny’ and have not been proven to have been designed by the city to ‘save the public money, encourage robust competition, or prevent favoritism’.”[13]  The strikers are fighting for an EPP which would require successor contractors to retain employees who were laid off when the previous contractor lost the bid at the same salary and benefit levels.[14]

The bus drivers and aides are not directly hired by the city; they are hired for the companies which contract with the city.[15] In their bidding process, the bus companies, not the city, set the salaries and benefits for the drivers and the goal in putting the bus routes out for competitive bidding was to save tax money for the city.[16]

The union has not set a specified amount of time in which the strike will continue for. However union president “Michael Cordiello of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union says the drivers will strike until Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city agree to put a job security clause back into their contract.”[17] This strike could go on for an indefinite period of time leaving New York City parents scrambling to find alternative means of transport for their children.


[1] NYC School Bus Drivers Strike Over Job Security, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/16/nyc-school-bus-drivers-strike/1839011/ (Jan. 16, 2013).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] John Herzfeld, 8,000 Bus Drivers in ATU Local 1181 Strike New York City’s School System, Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  Jan. 16, 2016 at 1, available at Bloomberg BNA 11 DLR A-5.

[5] NYC School Bus Drivers Strike Over Job Security, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/16/nyc-school-bus-drivers-strike/1839011/ (Jan. 16, 2013).

[6] John Herzfeld, 8,000 Bus Drivers in ATU Local 1181 Strike New York City’s School System, Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  Jan. 16, 2016 at 1

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] L&M Bus Corp. v. New York City Dept. Education, 2008 NY Slip Op 31246 (Apr. 22, 2008).

[13] Id.; John Herzfeld, 8,000 Bus Drivers in ATU Local 1181 Strike New York City’s School System, Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  Jan. 16, 2016 at 1

[14] John Herzfeld, 8,000 Bus Drivers in ATU Local 1181 Strike New York City’s School System, Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  Jan. 16, 2016 at 1

[15] NYC School Bus Drivers Strike Over Job Security, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/16/nyc-school-bus-drivers-strike/1839011/ (Jan. 16, 2013)

[16] John Herzfeld, 8,000 Bus Drivers in ATU Local 1181 Strike New York City’s School System, Labor and Employment Law Resource Center  Jan. 16, 2016 at 1

[17] Karen Matthews, School Bus Strike in New York City Enters 2nd Day, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nyc-parents-prepare-bus-strike-18225866 (Jan. 16, 2013).

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: