With the promise from several Democratic candidates—one of whom is likely to succeed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg next year—that they will “revisit’ school transportation contracts to ensure that the experienced and trained school bus drivers and bus matrons will be treated fairly, the members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181 have ended their strike.
In the letter to ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello, the five mayoral hopefuls wrote:
We pledge, if elected, to revisit the school bus transportation system and contracts….Working together we are confident that a fair, lawful and expeditious process can be reestablished that meets our shared goals of safety, efficiency, and job security, with the best possible service provided by a highly qualified and properly compensated work force to safely transport the children of New York City.
Bloomberg forced the city’s yellow school bus drivers and bus matrons on strike Jan. 16 by dropping a long-standing requirement that proven, experienced and trained drivers and bus monitors retain their jobs when new companies win bids to operate the bus routes.
Cordiello says the pledge by the candidates—public advocate Bill de Blasio; New York City Comptroller John C. Liu; New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; former comptroller William C. Thompson; and former council member Sal Albanese:
Gives us great confidence that the next mayor of this city will be far more sympathetic to the working conditions of the drivers, matrons and mechanics that make up Local 1181.
But he adds, “This fight is far from over,” and says that between now and the November election, in which Bloomberg is not a candidate:
We will continue to keep political pressure on the politicians, notably the still current mayor, but politicians in the future to make sure they stay up-to-date on our issues and also to go to Albany to work on some legislation if we can do that.
The buses will be running again when school resumes Wednesday, and Cordiello says:
Our bus drivers and matrons look forward to getting back to work and doing the important job of safely transporting the students, who are like our own children, to and from school each day.