Thursday, February 21, 2013 3:37:00 PM
OL BUS FAMILIES CONDEMN POST-STRIKE ATTACKS ON MATRONS’ AND DRIVERS’ JOBS
Call for City Investigation Into Bus Company Violations of the WARN Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tony Murphy 347-602-1584
PIST hotline: 347-504-3310
Entrevistas en Español: Milagros Cancel 347 364-7506
Thousands of families found out yesterday that their drivers and matrons who recently stopped striking are still not back on their routes, due to companies assigning those jobs to others who only began working during the strike as replacements.
Sara Catalinotto of Parents to Improve School Transportation (PIST) said, “We have been contacted by several angry parents whose children were met by new hires on Wednesday morning instead of the experienced matrons and drivers they expected.”
Jofaz Transportation laid off 109 matron/escorts, citing financial impact of the strike. A Google search reveals that Jofaz is linked to Boro Wide Buses as well as to limousine, coach and other transportation fleets around New York State. Mother of six Fatima Prioleau, whose youngest rides a wheelchair bus, finds it “frustrating to see this happening to the lowest-paid and women.” She called for other advocates to “get on this” along with PIST NYC and ATU 1181, the union of the laid off former strikers.
Margaret DePaula, a retired special educator whose grandchildren ride a yellow bus, emphasized that these cases indicate what will happen if, as Mayor Bloomberg wishes, companies are allowed to hire who they want—minus the EPP seniority list that the strike attempted to maintain.
DePaula charged the DOE with disregarding safety by “keeping extra drivers in the role of escorts with only a very short emergency training” as opposed to the full certification process and professional development days completed by the women who are now idled.
PIST dad Johnnie Stevens added, “We will continue to fight for a School Bus Bill of Rights to keep high standards for busing services.The security of our children is interconnected with the security of the workers who provide transportation, which is a special education right as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).”
“These companies are in violation of IDEA and also of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). The WARN Act requires companies with more than a hundred workers to give 60-day notice before closing a plant or enacting mass layoffs,” Stevens continued.
“We call on New York’s Democratic candidates for mayor who have expressed support for the union to immediately – not after the next election -- launch an investigation of these violations,” Stevens said. “As Speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn especially is in a position to make this happen, including emergency legislation that would give the city enforcement powers -- i.e., a WARN Act with teeth."
"The bus companies have thrown workers out in the street. That's no way to treat workers who have been attending to the needs of our children for decades. We need a city council investigation now." Stevens concluded.