The misinformation swirling about this morning’s yellow school-bus strike is unbelievable. Last night, only News4NewYork reporter Pei-Sze Cheng correctly noted that the state COA ruled the 40 years old employee protection provision (EPP) “anti-competitive.” The Mayor and Chancellor continue to insist that the EPP is illegal.
At a mid-morning news conference, ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello again wrongly asserts the opposite and misinterprets the ruling. Cardiello insists that the city can simply avoid the strike by agreeing to show the courts that the EPP does not inhibit competition or drive costs up.
The burden of proof should not be on the City since it was forced into accepting and defending the EPP after a stressful fifteen week strike in 1979. Tuesday night on NY1, former Mayor Ed Koch said that the late Frank Macciarola, then-Schools Chancellor, who sought to get rid of the EPP, came to him saying that he had to capitulate.
For 33 years, no other Mayor attempted to challenge the EPP for fear of a lengthy strike. That’s no longer the case since the progressive State Court of Appeals found the EPP to be an unjustified infringement on competition. The EPP is an infringement that neither the city nor the union can justify.
Was I harsh in calling them hostage-takers and blackmailers? No. I was simply telling the truth about people who were deliberately misleading the public and news reporters.
Prevarication and obfuscation only serves their self-interest while inconveniencing working-class parents and 54,000 special-needs students who need an education.
Writing in Alternet – a web-based publication—Molly Knefel claimed that putting the bus contracts out to bid was a privatization effort and evidence of a Bloomberg Administration austerity plan.
What makes that assertion laughable is the fact that the pupil transportation industry is wholly private. Unlike the city’s bus and subway operators who work for the MTA, a public authority, yellow-bus drivers and matrons are employed by private companies providing contracted services to the city.
Ms. Knefel’s claims are further evidence of the disingenuous propaganda campaign by the union and its supporters.
Local 1181 ATU has become so fat and lazy in the three decades of an EPP and no competition in the school-bus transportation industry that their disinterest in organizing or engaging in collective bargaining has forced them into an ill-advised strike.
Since Local 1181 presumably has valid labor contracts with school-bus companies, it seems reasonable to assume that when bidding for the new city contracts the companies will include those labor costs in their bids. It is also reasonable to assume that new bidders cannot undercut those labor costs because of the industry’s existing prevailing wage.
Despite the union sending out notices last week urging members not to verbally harass or intimidate non-striking workers, members working at the Bronx-based Logan Bus Company reportedly threatened workers at the nearby GVC Bus Company, which has a contract to bus Pre-K students.
Citywide Pre-K school busing contracts do not have the controversial EPP clause.
Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union and mother of a special ed Pre-K child, wrote a letter to Chancellor Dennis Walcott apprising him of the threats and urging police presence at the bus company bus lots.
Late last night, Ms. Davids was assured that police would be present to make sure that non-striking drivers at Pre-K bus companies would not face interference.
Again, Local 1181 ATU lied that their intention was not to endanger children. Tell that to the thousands of children and parents stranded today.
The truth is that all hostage-takers lie.
Related article: School-bus suckers!