Union: No progress on NYC school bus talks

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Anxious parents and educators are weighing their options for 150,000 New York City students in case school bus drivers go ahead with a threatened strike after another day without a resolution.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents 8,800 school bus drivers, said Monday there has been no progress in their talks with the city's Department of Education on its plans to put out new bids for school bus contracts.

The union's members have threatened to strike but have not specified the date they'd walk off the job, which has left education officials worried children will be left at the curb without notice.

"We don't think it will be [Tuesday], but we just don't know," said one city education official.

The bids, which haven't been offered for 33 years, don't include an employee protection provision, or EPP, and many drivers fear they could lose their jobs since several city bus contracts end in June. The bids account for only 1,100 contracts, or a sixth of all bus contracts and 2,000 bus drivers.

Michael Cordiello, the union's president, said those provisions are needed to ensure that the best drivers are on the job.

"Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and Chancellor [Dennis] Walcott are attempting to take away the jobs of thousands of experienced school bus drivers and matrons who provide years of unmatched training and experience for all of our children," he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the union said the leadership is weighing all options, but if there is a strike they will give a fair notice in advance.

The DOE has a contingency plan for the parents of the students in case the strike does happen. Parents will receive MetroCards or can request reimbursement for miles. The city will also post schoolwork online.

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