And the school bus strike appears to be on. The strike, which Schools Commissioner Dennis Walcott calls "irresponsible and disrespectful," will begin on Wednesday morning according to Local 1181 of the Amalgated Transit Union president Michael Cordiello. Still, negotiations are ongoing and union reps say they are "optimistic."
Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference on the problem today, reiterating that the city has told the union "in unequivocal terms not to strike." The city is looking to renegotiate bus contracts with private bus companies to save money and the union is upset over a lack of employee protections in the contracts. The Mayor isn't buying it though, arguing that the protections the union wants have been found to be illegal in court. "Have you ever heard of a strike where once side is demanding something that the courts have deemed illegal?" he asked. "It is just meshuggah, as we say in Gaelic."
Read more on Gothamist.
So what happens to the 150,000+ kids who won't have a ride when the strike starts? The city has plans—big plans!—for them involving MetroCards and reimbursed rides. So no, kids, no snow days for you. Here's the breakdown.
And here's the Mayor's official statement:
With its regrettable decision to strike, the union is abandoning 152,000 students and their families who rely on school bus service each day. As Chancellor Walcott and I have said, the City will take all steps available to ensure that those who are impacted have the support they need, and we are now activating the protocols we put in place in the event of a strike. Let me be clear: the union’s decision to strike has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with job protections that the City legally cannot include in its bus contracts. We hope that the union will reconsider its irresponsible and misguided decision to jeopardize our students’ education.