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Unions Urge Cuomo to Restore School-Bus Drivers’ Rights

ALBANY, N.Y.—Three New York union leaders are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include a provision restoring labor protections for school-bus workers in the state’s budget. The three—Michael Cordiello, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, state AFL-CIO head Mario Cilento, and Hotel Trades Council leader Peter Ward, want him to revive the “employee protection provision” rule that then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg eliminated in 2012. The rule, enacted in 1979, mandated that if the city hired a new contractor to cover a bus route, that company had to follow the terms of the previous employer’s union contract. Bloomberg claimed a court decision made it illegal, but later said his main motive was to save money. After a strike by Local 1181 in early 2013 failed to sway him, many bus companies slashed pay and benefits, sometimes to minimum wage. “New York State should never reward contractors who drive down fair wages and benefits,” the three union leaders said in a March 13 letter to the governor. “But that is exactly what has happened in the New York City school-bus system since 2012. Today, many school bus drivers, mechanics and matrons are forced to live on near-poverty wages.” Read more

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