School Bus Company Says it Will Shut Down After Union Rejects Contract

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - 06:34 PM

School bus routes may have to be given to other companies in January if the company Atlantic Express closes shop as threatened (Larry Darling/flickr)

The school bus company Atlantic Express said it will go out of business at the end of December, after the union rejected its final offer for a new contract on Wednesday.

The Staten Island-based company had filed for bankruptcy in November and was seeking to lower its wages and benefits through contract negotiations.

"We are very disappointed with the outcome of the union vote," said spokeswoman Carolyn Daly. "Without this labor contract, we have no choice left but to proceed with the sale of all of the company’s assets and contracts."

She said 2000 New York City jobs will be lost along with 1600 bus routes. Atlantic claimed it wasn't able to compete with non-union companies after the city removed employee protections from the bus routes that were put out for bid this year, enabling them to pay their workers less.

But the president of the Amalgamated Transit union blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for creating chaos, by removing those long-held employee protections. The union went on strike for a month last winter, in protest, and lost.

"The mayor blew up the school bus system as we predicted," said Hanley, whose union includes Local 1181 in New York. Hanley was characteristically blunt in his assessment of the outgoing mayor.

"The clear intent and result of his school bus assault was to lower wages of already poor men and women who work every day for New Yorkers," he said in an email. "There is a special place in hell for people like Michael Bloomberg."

But Bloomberg spokesman Marc Lavorgna said that contrary to the union's belief, "no employees of a private company have a permanent right to a government contract."

The administration claims the city will save $210 million over the next five years by eliminating employee protections. Bloomberg has repeatedly noted that New York pays far more to bus its students than any other city.

Hanley claims 1800 workers lost their jobs after employee protections were removed from new contracts with the city. The union went to court and a judge blocked the bus companies from cutting wages last summer. Atlantic said that made it even more difficult to stay afloat.

The company said its contracts and bus fleets are now for sale. Any new company that wants the bus routes will be subject to approval by the Department of Education.

Lavorgna said a new school bus provider would pick up Atlantic's routes. Atlantic has survived several close brushes with bankruptcy in the past.


Comments [9]

David from marine park,brooklyn

they will reopen under amboy or some other name i know ebt bought some buses from AE long island garages.
I hope every one get hired under a diff bus.

Feb. 04 2014 07:48 PM


Dec. 09 2013 03:32 PM
Maria Gentile from Howard Beach NY

The company needs to stop the lies and tell the truth.... They're were things going on along with mismanagement that close this company down.... Not union wages.... Other companies within our union are paying same wages and are NOT going out of business... We DO NOT make a lot of money ... Bloomberg and Atlantic are responsible ....

Dec. 07 2013 12:07 PM
joe roman from brooklyn n.y..

I drove a school bus fir 35 years and had a perfect driving record considering we drive in the most conjested city in the u.s.a.and our mayor tells us we are paying to much money to has no price when it comes to our children being transported safely.we are most careful when we hire drivers and escorts and we have the most experienced 19a teachers that keep our driver profishent in their evey day dutys.i have noticed since that turmoil started that their to so many accidents with these new company with their less experienced mayor is it worth have your millions and now you what us to work for chump change in the modern does not matter to you.

Dec. 07 2013 09:46 AM
Chris P from Ottawa, ON

More city bullying!

Dec. 06 2013 10:56 PM

If AE would have voted yes for that contract all monies that were taken from the employees would have been forfeited . AE COULD HAVE THEN SHUT THEIR DOORS AND NOT HAVE THAT DEBT TO WORRY ABOUT.

Dec. 06 2013 06:12 PM
Brenda J Tillman

How horrible hats off to Union brother and sisters for standing strong.

Dec. 06 2013 05:33 PM
juan orellana

bloomberg whants to make sure he leaves us in poverty before he leaves office.

Dec. 06 2013 10:41 AM

Atlantic Express will be definitely going out of business but last nights meeting told us NOTHING regarding the next steps that will take place or information on your place on the master list or at least the time frame for everything to start changing... Cordiello had no options to offer AE workers- it seems that the union preferred AE to go out for some reason. Cordiello actually said that's why he decided to negotiate the contracts separately since he knew AE was going bankrupt. It's just strange that if he new their "dire" financial state and that without a doubt AE 'would" go out with a NO vote, why would he "recommend" the workers not take that contract? It's not because he thought that this was the only way for the workers to get their back pay because he was clear that any company that gets the contract can cross out having to pay back pay & let's be real, when AE gets their bankruptcy approved, they will undoubtedly have this debt included in the bankruptcy and will not be made to pay this back pay... Something really smells foul here...

Dec. 06 2013 10:40 AM

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