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November 2011
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School Bus Service May Be Disrupted by Strike

Vallo Transportation Ltd. maintains its fleet of school buses at 12-902 23rd Avenue in College Point. Credit Lori Gross

By Lori Gross | Bed-Stuy Patch

The City is warning parents of the “strong possibility” of an immediate strike affecting all yellow school bus service.

The strike would impact over 152,000 students, according to the Department of Education.

“The bus drivers’ union has told us that if the bid does not include an Employee Protection Provision—a measure which guarantees their workers civil service-type seniority rights in the event that their current employers do not win the new bid—they will go on strike, system-wide,” reads a letter sent to principals by Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “In our view, this would be an illegal strike, and it is all the more unconscionable when you consider that New York State’s highest Court recently ruled that we may not include an Employee Protection Provision requirement in our bids,” it said.

The DOE is has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, in the hopes that the Board will seek an immediate injunction in federal court.

“Our concern is the lowest price is the best service, and that’s the only thing that the law allows us to look at,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a press conference on Friday afternoon.

If the bus drivers do strike, the DOE will hand out metro cards to kids and parents, reimburse taxi rides, and pay back 51 cents per mile to parents who drive kids to school.

Students who arrive late to school because of the strike will be excused for up to 2 hours of tardiness, and the records of children who must be absent will not be negatively impacted, promises Walcott.

Field trips using yellow bussing would be cancelled.

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