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School bus union Local 1181 threatens strike, Mayor Bloomberg says it would cause ‘chaos’

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The “strong possibility” of a school-bus strike has the city scrambling for a plan to get 152,000 kids — many of them special education students — to class.

 

Mayor Bloomberg said Friday that a walkout by Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union would be illegal, and the city wants the feds to step in.

 

“The union representing school bus drivers is seeking something we are not legally allowed to offer — job guarantees for certain drivers,” Bloomberg said.

 

“[The union\] will harm the education of more than 152,000 students if it doesn’t get its ways, and that’s just outrageous.”

 

Union president Michael Cordiello said the strike could happen any time.

 

"In a time when the economy is failing and people need to be in work, this is all about protecting jobs," said Cordiello.

 

The sticking point is a demand that pre-kindergarten bus drivers get the same seniority-based job protections as drivers who transport older students, Cordiello said.

 

If the dispute does lead to a strike, it would be the first system-wide yellow bus strike in the city since 1979.

 

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said all schools would remain open and he urged parents to find alternate transportation.

 

"We regret the possibility of what could be a major disturbance in the lives of students and their families," Walcott wrote in a letter to parents.

 

He announced some contingency plans:

 

n Students who now take a yellow bus from a bus stop to school can request Metrocards.

 

n Students who have to take a car or taxi to school will be reimbursed for the cost.

 

n Field trips will be canceled.

 

n Lateness and absence due to a strike will be excused.

 

Bloomberg predicted “chaos” and Walcott called the strike threat “nothing short of shameful.”

 

The union has a checkered history.

 

The former president, Salvatore (Hot Dogs) Battaglia was sentenced to five years in prison in 2008 for shaking down bus company owners. Prosecutors said the union under Battaglia’s leadership was backed by the Genovese crime family.

 

bchapman@nydailynews.com

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Those parents who work, look for a relative to take your kids to school if you can't.

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No need......they said they are going to give them metrocards....it's going to b school kids all over......get ready for packed buses.:(

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The school bus industry is pretty messed up. A number of the bus companies, especially ones used by private schools, don't have proper insurance, lax maintanence, fail inspections, etc. I sincerely hope there is no strike. Though walking to school might be a new form of gym class- it will save the schools money, lol.

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n Students who now take a yellow bus from a bus stop to school can request Metrocards.

 

n Students who have to take a car or taxi to school will be reimbursed for the cost.

 

n Field trips will be canceled.

 

n Lateness and absence due to a strike will be excused.

 

 

 

My little brother got a notice from the school saying that the car/taxi reimbursement would only apply to students with an IEP. If they are general-educational students, the reimbursement doesn't apply (because they are capable of taking transit)

 

For my little brother, he'll probably take advantage of the ability to come 2 hours late and have it excused. Taking a bus down Richmond Avenue isn't that hard (at 07:00 going southbound, the buses can get overcrowded, but it's not like it's impossible to make the trip), but he'll probably just leave 2 hours later than his normal time (it does have the advantage of avoiding the crowds that happen earlier in the morning).

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Note that this strike could also shut down Hudson Rail Link service-same operator, same union.

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So if this actually happens, I could expect major car traffic in my neighborhoods? Sigh, need to leave extra early just to get to work on time.

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