June 6, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – With only days remaining in the New York City school year and a third of the City’s school bus contracts set to expire soon after, thirty-two (32) members of the New York City Council including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have signed on to a letter written by Civil Service and Labor Chair I. Daneek Miller, urging the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign into law a bill which would make mandatory the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) in all City school bus contracts.
The State bill (A. 9499 / S.8233) is sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell and Sen. Martin Dilan in their respective chambers.
The EPP, first implemented in 1979, provides for an experienced and well-trained workforce to be maintained through job security provisions and associated benefits.
The provision was removed during the last mayoral administration and without it 2,000 seasoned school bus workers lost their jobs in 2013. After the 2014 school year and again in 2015, the final two cohorts of non-EPP school bus contracts are expected put another 2,500 and 4,000 workers out of a job, respectively.
In their letter the Council Members point out that on behalf of the City’s “children, their families, and the workers who service them, it is vital that the Employee Protection Provision is mandated for inclusion in all future school bus contracts”.
“The importance of this issue cannot be undervalued,” remarked Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “Thirty-two City Council Members including the Speaker have signed on to this letter because we know that the EPP is essential to saving these next 2,500 jobs once the school year ends. These workers are well-trained, highly skilled drivers and matrons who understand the nuances of this job. They understand the importance of being the first and last line of contact students have on a daily basis with the school system. And they understand how to serve the diverse variety of needs our City’s children have. When we put these workers out of business, we place our children in harm’s way.”