Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The city's school bus drivers are promising not to strike during the holidays. But after that, members of Local 1181 say they're prepared to fight for a new contract that includes job protections.
Tony Livia has been a school bus driver for 16 years. He said kids' safety is on the line. “We're transporting children we're not transporting packages so when you put your kid on a bus you want to make sure that there's a professional certified driver that is transporting your kid to and from school."
President of 1181 Michael Cordiello sent a letter to parents of public school children on Tuesday laying out the union’s case and assuring them that their staff would continue to show up for work through the end of the year but they should be aware that the city could possibly try and replace them with less experienced drivers, mechanics pr escorts. “We will explore every avenue to resolve our issues before we take any action,” said Cordeiello.
The city informed the union last month it would seek bids for a new school bus contract for some special education students.
Drivers say Mayor Bloomberg caused undo alarm when he warned that school that bus drivers might strike.
Natalie Ravitz, a spokesperson from the Department of Education said “the union continues to threaten the possibility of an illegal strike that would leave families across the city struggling to get their children to school. Criticizing the Mayor and the Chancellor for preparing the city for preparing the city for that possibility is bizarre.”
LETTER SENT TO PARENTS