Atlantic Express update after contract vote

Sunday, December 15, 2013 11:36:00 PM

special thanks to veteran AE worker Maria Gentile

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On December 4, some 2000 school bus workers at Atlantic Express (including Amboy) voted down an insulting contract proposal by over 5 to 1 (1629 No votes, 281 Yes votes).
The issues included a 7.5% pay cut, loss of week's wage-accrual pay normally received in summer, other benefits—and being expected to forgive thousands of dollars that the rich owners owe each of them.

There's no strike but by Dec 31 Atlantic could be totally out of business. 1400+ routes are part of Atlantic's assets which the bankruptcy court heard bids for on Friday. The bankruptcy auction is planned for Wednesday. DOE has admitted to Local 1181 that the only chance to make a halfway smooth transition is with the involvement of experienced drivers and matrons.

The union is recommending that if any routes are not auctioned off tomorrow, the DOE should give those routes to companies covered by Employee Protection Provision so that experienced people can follow the work.

DOE so far has said no to requests from unionized companies to make these routes last as long as the routes they currently have by extending the EPP. This means there is less incentive for them to invest in acquiring Atlantic's routes that will last only till June.

We as parents don't want anyone taking chances that routes and personnel are going to be lacking on Jan 2, 2014. Problems that occurred on September 9 will be repeated—but with much colder weather. This is being treated as a financial deal and not as a matter that affects tens of thousands of students.

We challenge the city to show us a valid plan to deal with this bankruptcy. There is nothing on the DOE site--and we know how bad the pre- strike "planning" was a year ago. To NYC's outgoing mayor and chancellor, a crisis for our children is not a crisis for them.

Still, as we know from our legal civil rights campaign, the DOE has an obligation to provide adequate school transportation. Perhaps it can get money from state and federal sources, not to mention its $24 billion budget...those buses need to keep rolling and not with random people operating them.

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