Tag Archives: Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181

Citywide school bus strike over


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

FILE PHOTO

The month-long citywide school bus strike has come to a screeching halt.

Drivers and matrons are expected to be back at their posts on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, city officials and members of Local 1181 met on Thursday to bring an end to the strike which left more than 150,000 children stranded.

“We appreciate the hard work our bus drivers and matrons do and we welcome them back to the job. In the city’s entire history, the special interests have never had less power than they do today, and the end of this strike reflects the fact that when we say we put children first, we mean it,” said Bloomberg.

Drivers expected to end school bus strike tonight


| dromano@homereporter.com

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Ted Levin

UPDATE (8 p.m.): Mayor Bloomberg, city officials and union members have announced that the school bus strike is over.

According to several local politicians, including State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who posted the news on Facebook, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 is expected to officially end the school bus strike at 7 p.m. Friday.

If drivers do decide to go back to work, school buses will be available to students as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The welcome news comes just a day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City address at the Barclays Center, where he called the strike a “lost cause.”

 -With additional reporting by Toni Cimino 

Bus companies bid for routes as drivers continue to strike


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

The first major bid for bus routes in more than 33 years garnered 67 requests from bus companies, clamoring for over 1,100 routes, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

Bidding for the contracts ended on Monday, February 11, almost a month into the citywide bus strike. The bids are worth approximately $1 billion over the next five years, according to the DOE.

The bidding process, implemented in 2011, resulted in projected savings of $95 million.

In December, the DOE issued a Request for Bid (RFB) for 1,110 special education bus route contracts, set to expire on June 30. The new contracts are expected to be in place by the start of the 2013 school year.

Drivers from Local 1181 began striking on January 16, fighting to ensure contracts have Employee Protection Provisions (EPP) that state drivers will retain runs, regardless of what company oversees the route.

According to published reports, several school bus companies are suing the city to remove EPP for senior workers from existing private bus contracts. The names of the companies have not been released.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue

The Capitol Heights Lyric Opera presents, Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue, a tribute to the Jewish love song, from the traditional (“Tum Balalaika”) to the immigrant era (“My Yiddishe Mame”) to the golden years of Yiddish Theater (“Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). February 12 at the Forest Hills Library. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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Striking school bus drivers stand by their demands


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER / Photo by Alexa Altman

Maria Gentile has driven a school bus for more than 34 years. She knows the name of every student she carries along her route, through Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens. She’s witnessed the first and last days of school for countless families. When she drops a child off at home, she doesn’t drive away until they’ve made it safely inside.

“Safety is first with the children,” said Gentile, who gathered with dozens of other striking drivers outside a bus depot in Jamaica. Two weeks into the citywide school bus strike, drivers remain firmly behind their demands, calling specifically for job security.

“We just want to keep our jobs. That’s it,” said bus driver Jessica Saltos of Queens Village. “We’re not looking for a raise, healthcare, a pension, nothing at all. We want to keep working. That’s it.”

According to Gentile, drivers are fighting to retain the Employee Protection Provision (EPP), an amendment added in 1979 that guarantees drivers will retain routes, regardless of which company oversees the bid.

Strikers believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to instate makeshift drivers could be hazardous for the thousands of children who take buses to school. Certification, which normally takes roughly a year and includes drug testing, fingerprinting and hours of training, will take less than 24 hours for fill-in drivers.

“If the mayor wants to put a child in a vehicle with a driver who has no experience, what does that say?” said Gentile. “They’re going to rush to the school and throw the kid off the bus because they don’t care.”

The substitute bus drivers are set to make $14 an hour, a wage many drivers agreed doesn’t promote job longevity or dedication.

“[Bloomberg] is putting the almighty dollar above children’s safety,” said a driver.

On Monday, January 28, representatives from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 met with a mediator, Justice Milton Mollen, to discuss drivers’ concerns. While city officials did not attend the meeting, Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said Bloomberg’s involvement in arbitration is “necessary to move towards a resolution and end this strike.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


 TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with snow, then ice pellets and snow in the afternoon. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 80% . Monday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 37. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

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BREAKING NEWS: School bus strike officially announced, will begin Wednesday


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The school-bus strike could begin as early as Wednesday.

UPDATE: Local 1181 representatives announced a strike will begin among school bus drivers on Wednesday, January 16.

A walkout could still be averted if a deal is reached before that time.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and School’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott issued a statement regarding the impending school bus strike at a press conference on Monday.

“Should they decide to strike it would necessarily jeopardize the education and safety of more than 150,000 students who take school buses every single day,” said Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, the city cannot legally offer what Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union is hoping to obtain – job protection.

Should the strike occur, students in grades kindergarten through six will be issued metro cards with students in kindergarten through second grade eligible for an extra metro card for parents who wish to accompany their children to school. Parents driving their children to school can receive gas reimbursements at 55 cents per mile.

Local 1181 will allegedly issue a statement regarding the strike sometime this afternoon.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 45. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 34. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Japanese Classical Dance for Kids at Resobox

This workshop for kids ages 8-11 at Resobox in Long Island City teaches the 400-year-old nichibu dance popularized in kabuki. Performer and writer Helen Moss leads the class in the elegant Soke Fujima style. All experience levels are welcome, and all materials, including fans and kimonos, are provided. Starts at 5:30 p.m. Classes for ages 12 and above follow at 6:30pm. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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