September 27, 2013
By Neal Tepel
New York City – Calling the ruling a “tremendous victory” ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello applauded a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that will force New York City’s busing companies to repay school bus drivers and matrons lost wages and benefits following an illegally declared impasse last spring.
The ruling, issued late last week after an eight-day trial by NLRB judge Raymond Green, found that the employers violated the law by declaring impasse on March 19 of this year and unlawfully walked away from the bargaining table to impose drastic wage cuts. The ruling comes on the heels of a Federal Court ruling earlier this month by Kiyo Matsumoto which also agreed the companies had improperly issued an impasse and ordered all wage reductions overturned moving forward. Judge Green’s ruling will force the bus companies to resume bargaining with Local 1181 as well as hold them responsible for all monetary losses retroactively incurred as a result of the unlawful changes made on March 22.
“This is a tremendous victory for the hard-working drivers and matrons of our city,” Cordiello said. “This NLRB decision confirms what we have said from the very beginning: that the city’s bus companies illegally declared an impasse and walked away from negotiations to impose a disingenuous, ‘best and final offer’ that drastically slashed salaries and benefits of the workers tasked with the safe transport of our children to and from school daily. Between the Department of Education’s decision to remove the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) based on a lie they sold to New Yorkers and the unlawful actions of the bus companies, it is clear there are many that would like to turn the job of safely transporting our children into a low-wage industry. Local 1181 will continue to fight for the safest and most experienced workforce available, as we urge the City to return to the table with the bus companies create a fair working agreement to do so.”
The wage cuts by bus companies included a 7.5 percent loss for drivers and 3.5 percent for matrons. The companies also reduced overtime, eliminated Easter and Christmas week pay and made major cuts in health insurance contributions.