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Gov. Cuomo vetoes bill that would promise jobs for more experienced NYC school bus drivers

2020-01-10

Gov. Cuomo struck a blow to city school bus drivers Thursday by once again vetoing a bill that would guarantee jobs for the most experienced drivers and attendants, the Daily News has learned.

A coalition of drivers unions, state and city lawmakers had been pushing to bring back the Employee Protection Provision, which requires that bus companies hire the most senior drivers and attendants when they get new contracts from the city Education Department.

But Cuomo said the provisions would inflate costs and leave the state on the hook.

“There is nothing to prevent the manipulation of the stated costs of these provisions that will be directly attributable to the state budget,” Cuomo wrote.

A state court ruled in 2011 that the Employee Protection Provision violated state laws on competitive bidding. Mayor Bloomberg removed the protections from all city bus contracts two years later, prompting a month-long strike.

Mayor de Blasio promised to bring back the benefits during his 2013 mayoral run but was shot down in state court. He instead introduced a city grant program that offers benefits to some city bus drivers outside of their contracts.

Cuomo — who vetoed a similar bill to bring back the EPP in 2016 — said this year’s bill didn’t address the court’s original concerns that the provisions undermined competitive bidding rules and would lead to ballooning costs.

Advocates have countered that the provisions — which would be funded by the city Education Department — would save the city money in the long run by reducing turnover and spending on unemployment insurance.

City Council Member Mark Tryeger, who supported the bill, said the veto would bring further “instability” to the city’s sprawling school bus system. It “threatens the most vulnerable children and working families," he said.

Michael Cordiello, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, said he was “disappointed” by the decision, but vowed to “continue to protect the jobs, wages and benefits of our school bus drivers and attendants.”