City working with companies and union to avert NYC school bus strike

Joe Torres Image
Monday, October 31, 2016
City working with companies and union to avert NYC school bus strike
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Joe Torres has more from Canarsie.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's optimistic that a school bus strike threatened for Tuesday will not take place.

Drivers voted last week to strike two bus companies serving 600 routes in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

The buses rolled out of the yard Monday afternoon in Red Hook.

It's still unclear is whether they will roll at all Tuesday.

The transportation needs of 12,000 public school students in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island hangs in the balance.

Hundreds of drivers employed by two companies, Jofaz and Y & M Transit, will strike Tuesday morning if union leadership and company management don't hammer out a new contract deal by midnight.

"I just pray and hope that they resolve whatever solution that they need to resolve. We don't strike. We have the holidays coming up. We have responsibilities to take care or, so we need to work," said Raynard Edwards, a bus driver.

Drivers are not happy with the prospect of higher healthcare costs and fewer holidays.

Union leaders and management had no comment for Eyewitness News.

The Department of Education is not involved in the labor talks, but remains hopeful a deal will be reached soon.

The department has kept parents updated and the mayor offered some options in case the drivers hit the picket lines.

"We'll provide reimbursement if they take a taxi or a car service or even if they use their own car. So, we're going to have very strong contingency plans in place," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The two school bus companies share the same owner and union contract. The strike would involve about 900 workers and thousands of students.

The mayor said that contingency plans will also address the needs of the special needs children.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)