Labor Board Still Investigating Bus Complaints

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The National Labor Relations Board said Monday that it's still investigating two complaints by a coalition of school bus companies that's seeking to stop the yellow bus strike in New York City.

Regional director James Paulsen said his Brooklyn office is obtaining sworn evidence from all of the parties including the city, the union and the bus companies.

Although it's an expedited investigation, he said, "Sometimes it takes time to get people and their evidence." Paulsen said sometimes the parties come to his office and sometimes he goes to meet them.

He said he hopes to wrap things up this week or next week, at the latest.

As regional director, he said he would make a decision about whether the charges have merit. If he finds in favor of the bus companies, he would try to get the union to cease its strike. But if the union refuses, he'd seek an administrative hearing to obtain an injunction.

He could also conclude the strike is primary, meaning it does involve the bus companies, and dismiss the charges.

The bus companies claimed they're a secondary party to the strike, because it's a matter between the city and the union that doesn't involve them. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his hands are tied because a court ruled it's illegal to continue the labor protections the union wants in new bus contracts. The union, however, said the mayor's interpretation of that ruling is wrong.

Meanwhile, student attendance hasn't suffered much overall because only 11 percent of city public school children take yellow buses. But kids with special needs rely heavily on the buses. Attendance at schools for students with the most serious disabilities, in District 75, was under 63 percent last Friday, 20 points lower than before the strike.

For an analysis of the rising costs of school bus transportation in New York City, check out this report.