February 11, 2013
More than 1,300 bus drivers and matrons of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to rally near City Hall to demand that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott cancel the bids for new school bus contracts in order to end the four-week old strike. Read More and Watch Video
The drivers and matrons were joined by contingents of TWU Local 100, United Federation of Teachers and 32BJ SEIU as they marched from Cadman Plaza, across the Brooklyn Bridge and onto City Hall where pols and labor leaders showing solidarity spoke.
ATU’s President, Larry Hanley, said that not only Local 1181, but the union’s Washington, D.C. office was calling the Mayor’s office to gain clarity on the Mayor’s position on employee protection provisions, which is the focal point of the current dispute, for a year.
But the Mayor didn’t respond until December 21 when he announced that the city would be accepting bids from school bus companies for new route contracts that do not contain the EPP.
At a joint City Council hearing on Friday, Schools Chancellor Walcott said that the city had no intention of inserting the EPP into the new bids or cancelling them.
Michael Cordiello, Local 1181’s president, said that he was stunned by Walcott’s testimony on Friday.
“Walcott said the other day that new employers should have the right to pick who are their new employees. But the employees here have been driving for 20 or 30 years, and they have no rights. That just doesn’t make any sense,” said Cordiello.
Cordiello also said that the Mayor’s argument that the city can’t negotiate with the school bus companies and the union to end the strike because of a 2011 state Court of Appeals ruling [striking down EPPs for the Pre-K industry] is a just a guise for union busting.