Statement from ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello
Although Mayor Bloomberg’s failure to put the safety of New York City children first makes a strike likely, there are no immediate plans for one. The issue here is getting children to school safely and securely. All the Mayor has done is create more chaos, instability, and concern among parents about NYC school buses, which have already been poorly managed for years.
The crucial provisions the Mayor has suddenly eliminated not only ensure a stable, experienced workforce – they protect the hundreds of thousands of city children who get to school every day in the hands of that workforce. The casting away of experienced, well-trained employees in favor of companies who are simply seeking to provide bare-bones service at the lowest possible cost is a risky, ill-conceived public policy that directly threatens the safety and security of our children. If we want a frightening example of this, we should look no further than the Bronx casino bus accident that killed 15 last March. Deregulation of the intercity bus industry has turned intercity buses into sweatshops on wheels, where lack of driver training and employment standards have caused a spike in fatal crashes across the country.
The last thing we need is to bring that level of risk to the buses New York City parents depend on to get their children to school safe and sound.
Furthermore after spending three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees standing by our side and defending employment protections for school bus drivers, the Mayor has inexplicably and duplicitously flip-flopped on decades-old city policy. When it comes to school children the Mayor should be more concerned about safety not just cutting costs.