School bus companies meeting with union Monday

Ben Chapman
New York Daily News
January 26, 2013

School bus companies will meet with the union Monday to discuss the crippling strike that has left thousands of students without rides to class - but the city won’t come to the talks.

Workers for Amalgamated Transit Union 1181 walked off the job last Wednesday because the city cut job protections for senior workers from new contracts.

Mayor Bloomberg called for the bus companies to meet with the union at Gracie Mansion Monday but the city will not participate - and bus company officials are crying foul.

“This meeting is farce to shift the focus away from the real issue - the city’s new contracts,” said a company official, who asked to remain anonymous.

Local 1181 president Michael Cordiello applauded the mayor for arranging the sit-down, but said that unless the city comes to the talks as well, a deal isn’t happening.

“The best way for this strike to end is with Local 1181, Mayor Bloomberg and the City’s bus companies in one room, talking candidly and in good faith,” said Cordiello. “We urge Mayor Bloomberg to join us at the table to work towards ending this strike. Until that happens, the strike goes on.”

A spokeswoman for a coalition of school bus companies said that the companies will do whatever they need to do to end the strike, but that the city is needed at the talks.

Mayor Bloomberg has insisted that the strike arose for a dispute between the bus companies and the union, despite the companies and the union saying otherwise.

“The Mayor reached out to both the bus companies and union to arrange a meeting in hopes that they can come to an agreement to end the strike,” said Bloomberg spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua.

Meanwhile city parents will have to put up with the strike for at least another week, when federal labor bosses are expected to rule on a request by the bus companies to have the strike quashed.

The National Labor Relations Board heard the companies’ argument last week that the strike is illegal because they’re caught in the middle of a battle between the city and the union.

But even if the labor leaders decide that the strike is illegal, the bus companies will still have to convince a federal judge to enforce the ruling.

 


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