NLRB to Weigh in on New York City School Bus Strike

The New York City school bus driver strike is looking to continue into its second week as neither side appears to have made any progress towards an agreement. However, hope could be on the horizon in the form of the National Labor Relations Board, which has agreed to hear the complaint from private bus companies [...]

The New York City school bus driver strike is looking to continue into its second week as neither side appears to have made any progress towards an agreement. However, hope could be on the horizon in the form of the National Labor Relations Board, which has agreed to hear the complaint from private bus companies who allege that the strike is illegal.

The city has been taking steps to relieve the pressure on parents and students by offering reimbursement for taxi, car service and other transportation expenses. MetroCards have been distributed to students to allow them to take public transit for free, and if the strike is not resolved in the next few days, additional cards will be distributed to parents as well.

Families are still struggling to cope with the first driver strike since the 1970s, which has affected more than 150,000 students in the city’s five boroughs. However, according to the New York Daily News, the strike could reach its resolution as early as Tuesday if the NLRB rules against the union.

The city’s largest bus drivers union is striking to protest Mayor Bloomberg’s cost-cutting plan to re-bid bus company contracts without guaranteeing jobs or seniority for veteran drivers or the trained matrons who escort special needs kids.

The companies face fines for missing routes and argued in their complaint to the board that they’re being punished financially for a dispute between the city and the union.

The NLRB will hear testimony from the bus owners as early as Tuesday and will rule shortly after, officials said.

Although replacement drivers had been brought in and were cleared to begin operating on Thursday, only 3,000 buses actually got out of the depot and crossed the picket line. That number dropped to 2,400 buses on Friday.

Meanwhile the concerns expressed last week that the strike would have the biggest impact on special needs students proved to be warranted, as nearly 50% of students classified as special needs missed school on Thursday. Their attendance rate rose to 62% on Friday.

The National Labor Relations Board will take up a formal complaint from private bus companies that provide yellow bus service to 150,000 city kids alleging that the strike is illegal. A ruling that could put an end to the strike could come as early as Tuesday.

The city’s largest bus drivers union is striking to protest Mayor Bloomberg’s cost-cutting plan to re-bid bus company contracts without guaranteeing jobs or seniority for veteran drivers or the trained matrons who escort special needs kids.

While they await the NLRB’s decision, families and guardians will continue to struggle to get their kids to class on time and continue to hope for a speedy resolution to the strike so daily routines can get back to normal.

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