With New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott saying a strike by school bus drivers this week is inevitable, bus companies have responded by threatening legal action.
At a press conference held yesterday in Lower Manhattan, Walcott was quoted by NY 1 as saying about the possible strike by drivers, “it is not now a matter of if, but a matter of when.”
“This is a strike against our children,” Walcott said, “It is illegal as far as what they’re asking us to do and they are hurting our most vulnerable children and it is totally unacceptable.”
The Amalgamated Transit Union or ATU is requesting job protection for some workers, but both Walcott and Mayor Bloomberg say it’s just not possible after the state Court of Appeals previously struck down such measures – known as Employee Protection Provisions or EPPs, in 2011.
“The Employee Protection Provisions, the EPPs that the union is asking for us to include in the bid, was struck down by the highest court in New York State, the New York State Court of Appeals,” the chancellor said.
Meanwhile in a story published this morning, a coalition of school bus companies announced that they will seek an injunction from the National Labor Relations Board and civil damages if the drivers walk off the job.
The AFL-CIO and New York City Central Labor Council responded by citing city government’s past defense of employee protections, as well as by expressing doubt as to whether the court decision in question applies to this contract.
Several union drivers who spoke with reporters said they were expecting an announcement sometime today for a Wednesday strike.
Walcott had said he wants the union to give at least 24 hours’ warning before the start of the strike, so that parents can make alternate plans to get their children to school.
Updates on school bus service are reportedly being provided on the Department of Education’s website, schools.nyc.gov, by 7 a.m. every morning.