PIST Aug 19 organizing meeting notes

Saturday, September 02, 2017 4:57:00 PM

Car Seats, Communication, GPS, Workforce status, Outreach, Bill of Rights

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The August PIST meeting was attended by current and former school bus parents, education activists, school bus union delegates, and campaigners for fair wages/seniority for the school bus workforce. Two leaders of NY chapter of Comite Timon participated by phone app.  Here are highlights of the discussion and what we still need.  Contact pistnyc@gmail.com to help. 
 
CAR SEATS & HARNESSES:  Information was exchanged about car seat safety on the school bus by moms who have become experts and ATU 1181 longtime driver trainer Robin Benedetto. We need signers for an open letter to the authorities about the need to upgrade safety seat training in view of initiatives like 3-K and Pre-K which bring smaller children into schooling and busing.  
 
COMMUNICATION:  People volunteered to share our contact information by sending flyers electronically to different lists, posting as photos on social media, and by taping to lamp posts or taking to schools, which anyone can do.  See attached (smaller and larger versions available on request) or share from .
Andie and Sara volunteered to help advise people on writing complaint emails to OPT.  We need speakers of languages other than English to allow us to refer parents to you for busing advice by email or phone.
 
GPS:  Apparently there will be GPS on buses this year that the driver can actually access for directions to new stops.  Note that the authorities plan to penalize drivers if they deviate at all from the given GPS route, which makes it hard for experienced drivers to apply on-the-road judgement or flexibility that could help parents.  We need parents and drivers to let us know how this GPS is working out.
 
Workforce status:  The seniority 'pick' was set to happen the last week of August.  As of our meeting, some 600 experienced attendants were out of work--including some of the same women laid off in 2013--while companies hired others at lower pay.  Also due to the dramatic drop in pay and benefits, the city was short a few hundred drivers.  City government is in a position to resolve this with supplemental pay and by restoring the Employment Protection Provisions (EPP).  We need parents to sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/new-york-city-department-of-education-keep-our-kids-safe and to stay tuned. 
 
 
OUTREACH:  Milagros is setting up PIST workshops at well known community centers in the Bronx, starting on Sept. 5, see .  
A friend in the Access-A-Ride movement got us invited to speak at the Flatbush Tenant Coalition in October.  The idea is self-help for resolving families' route problems (with input from the school bus union as needed). 
We need friends to let us know where in your neighborhood we can meet families and collect school bus complaints--including at outdoor tables while the weather is nice.
 
SCHOOL BUS BILL OF RIGHTS:  Starting campaign now for an election referendum next year.  For now, we need you to ask more organizations to endorse officially.  Later we may need speakers at a public hearing. At another point we will need thousands of signatures gathered by volunteers. 
OUTREACH:  Milagros is setting up PIST workshops at well known community centers in the Bronx, starting on Sept. 5, see .  
A friend in the Access-A-Ride movement got us invited to speak at the Flatbush Tenant Coalition in October.  The idea is self-help for resolving families' route problems (with input from the school bus union as needed). 
We need friends to let us know where in your neighborhood we can meet families and collect school bus complaints--including at outdoor tables while the weather is nice.
 
SCHOOL BUS BILL OF RIGHTS:  Starting campaign now for an election referendum next year.  For now, we need you to ask more organizations to endorse officially.  Later we may need speakers at a public hearing. At another point we will need thousands of signatures gathered by volunteers. 

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