The bus company where unionized drivers had recently been on strike for nearly two weeks, impacting four Nassau County school districts, has laid off 134 employees, after two of the districts had canceled their contracts, state records show.
Baumann & Sons Buses Inc. cited the loss of transportation contracts with the Hicksville and Rockville Centre school districts for the action, according to a Nov. 18 regulatory notice posted Tuesday on the state labor department’s website.
Under New York’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, companies with at least 50 full-time employees must file a notice of a mass layoff or closing.
The layoff, which went into effect on Monday, according to the notice, comes less than a week after the drivers ended the strike that disrupted the transportation routines of more than 20,000 students in the Baldwin and Freeport districts as well as Hicksville and Rockville Centre.
Debra Hagan, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 252, said Tuesday that the impacted drivers can work for the other companies who have acquired the contracts.
“Most of these companies are offering them benefits, including wages, above what they receive from Baumann Bus Company,” she said.
Late Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman for the bus company said in an email: “The law requires WARN notices when contracts are lost. Despite the requirement to send such notices, the Company still has work available for employees who have returned from the strike and these employees were notified of the same.”
The strike ended Thursday and the unionized drivers are scheduled to hold a ratification vote on the proposed agreement with Baumann on Nov. 28.
More than 300 bus drivers, monitors and mechanics had been on strike. The job action began Nov. 6.
Earlier this month, school officials in some of the districts had looked into contracting with other companies as the strike stretched into a second week. Hicksville posted on its website that Educational Bus Transportation or Acme Bus will now provide transportation for students. Vehicles are currently being transitioned in and drivers hired, according to school officials.
Rockville Centre Superintendent William Johnson said Tuesday that the district has been using Guardian Bus, now covering 100 percent of the district’s transportation needs.
“We started the school year hoping we would continue with Baumann. We didn’t ask for this. This arrived on our doorstep as an unexpected problem we had to resolve during the school year,” he said.
Freeport and Baldwin school officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday. A posting on Baldwin’s website read that “Baumann Bus Company will continue to provide all normally scheduled runs on Tuesday.”
With Scott Eidler