NYC School Bus Strike Looms

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(photo by Ben Walker via Flickr)

(New York, NY -- WNYC Newsroom)  Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned of an "immediate strike" by the city's school bus drivers that could  impact 152,000 students.

"If and when a strike should happen we're going to do everything possible to help parents who rely on school buses to get their children to school safely," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the MTA is ready to issue students round-trip MetroCards for each day of the potential strike and parents can request them to accompany young or special needs students to and from school.

It was unclear when or if the union would strike.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the Department of Education has prepared "for the worst," and alerted parents in an email Friday that they should prepare for a "strong possibility of an immediate system-wide strike."

"The union's threat to strike and leave 152,000 students and their families in the lurch is nothing short of shameful," Walcott said.

The strike threat by drivers with Local 11-81 came as a response to the Department of Education's bid for new yellow bus contracts.

The union wants the bid to include a measure that guarantees workers their seniority rights if their current employers do not win the new bid.

The DOE called the potential strike illegal. The union has not responded for comment.