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School bus drivers’ union OKs contract with Baumann

Students at South Side Middle School in the

Students at South Side Middle School in the Rockville Centre school district get on a Baumann & Sons bus during the drivers' strike on Nov. 10, 2017. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Unionized drivers who went on a nearly two-week strike that affected four Nassau County school districts earlier this month approved a contract Tuesday with Baumann & Sons Buses Inc., union leaders said.

Debra Hagan, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 252, said the contract, for a term of three years, was “overwhelmingly ratified.”

Hagan has said the agreement includes raises, gains in sick leave and an increase in 401(k) contributions to employees. She has not given specifics.

A spokesman for the company confirmed the contract was ratified and declined to comment further.

The bus strike, which began Nov. 6 and ended Nov. 16, affected more than 20,000 students in the Baldwin, Freeport, Hicksville and Rockville Centre districts and students in private schools whose transportation is supplied by those public systems.

More than 300 bus drivers, monitors and mechanics in TWU Local 252 went on strike.

As a result of the job action, two of the districts — Hicksville and Rockville Centre — canceled their contracts with Baumann. Both have signed pacts with other bus companies.

Shortly after the strike ended, the Ronkonkoma-based bus company announced layoffs of 134 employees, state records show.

Baumann & Sons cited the loss of transportation contracts with the Hicksville and Rockville Centre districts for the layoffs, according to a Nov. 18 regulatory notice posted 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.

However, a spokeswoman for the bus company has said that despite the requirement to send such notices, the company still has work available for employees who returned from the strike and had notified those employees of the availability.

The Baldwin and Freeport districts have remained with Baumann.

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