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July 18, 2019

NYC school bus union threatens strike

May 7, 2019
Detail of School Bus in New York. Front sign. Buildings and windows on the back. (Getty Images)

Employees of the city yellow school bus industry’s largest union voted to authorize a strike Monday, after Albany lawmakers failed to include job protections for bus workers in the new state budget.

Union officials said workers represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 took a strike vote against Reliant bus company — which serves 12,000 city students with disabilities — as negotiations over collective bargaining agreements proceed.

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The workers are now cleared to move ahead with a work stoppage as tumult in the city’s $1.2 billion yellow school bus system continues — although they may not actually strike.

Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said workers voted for the strike because Reliant will agree to not to the same salaries and benefits enjoyed by union workers at other companies.

But a Reliant spokesman said the company can’t provide raises and competitive benefits for bus workers unless the state legislature writes them into law.

The city is still struggling to gain control of the yellow bus system after huge problems with service at the start of the current school year prompted leadership changes, a federal probe and an outside audit of bus contracts. The yellow bus woes were first reported by the Daily News.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said de Blasio is working to encourage lawmakers in Albany to adopt job protections for bus workers, and the city will work closely with families to ensure students aren’t left stranded.

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