New York City – Michael Cordiello, President of ATU Local 1181, issued the following statement today about the ongoing school bus drivers’ and matrons’ strike. Members of Local 1181 have been on strike since Wednesday, January 16 in protest of the City’s most recent special education contract bid, which fails to protect both special education students, and the City’s most experienced and safe drivers and matrons.
“On Wednesday, along with the ATU International President Larry Hanley, and New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, I sat down with Mayor Bloomberg and conveyed to him the importance of a fair and just resolution to this strike. I explained that we want our dedicated, hardworking members and the kids of New York City back onto the buses where they belong as soon as possible.
“We told the Mayor that our members all come from modest means, and the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) we are fighting for is extremely important in providing the job security needed to ensure that our children are being cared for by the most experienced and safe drivers and matrons. For almost half a century, the EPP has succeeded in creating one of the safest and professional workforces in the nation.
“During our meeting we urged the Mayor to help us find a way to resolve this dispute, as we have been asking for the last several months, and like his predecessors before him have for the last 50 years. To that end, Mayor Bloomberg suggested that Local 1181 and bus companies enter into mediation immediately, under the auspices of the Mayor. ATU Local 1181 is prepared to meet this afternoon.
“Unfortunately, bus company owners continue to drag their feet, refusing to meet with Local 1181 until next week. With temperatures in the teens and our city’s children and their parents continuing to struggle to find ways to cope with this work stoppage, now is not the time to take the weekend off. This is time that should be spent trying to end this strike.
“As I have said from the beginning, the best way for this strike to end is with Local 1181, Mayor Bloomberg and the City’s bus companies in one room, talking candidly and in good faith. We urge Mayor Bloomberg to join us at the table to work towards ending this strike.
Until that happens, the strike goes on.”