Thursday, February 21, 2013

Teamsters vow to end 'race to the bottom' in wake of NYC bus strike

During the strike, Local 854 President Danny Gatto spoke to the media
about the importance of job protection. 
New York's billionaire mayor may have won the latest battle in the war on workers, but New York Teamsters will never give up on workers' fight for decent wages and job security.

The strike by New York City school bus drivers and matrons ended Tuesday night after Mayor Bloomberg refused to negotiate with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181.

Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda pledged to hold politicians accountable in the fall -- and whenever the issue of school bus workers' job security is raised.

Miranda said that when New York Teamsters endorse a mayoral candidate, they will take into account their position on school bus workers' wages and job protection. Five Democratic candidates signed a letter supporting the workers.

Miranda said the mayor's attack on workers will hurt all New Yorkers.
It’s a race to the bottom. Drivers and matrons with years of experience caring for our children will be replaced with new drivers and matrons with no experience, background or comparable levels of training. 
The mayor wants to sell our children’s safety to the lowest bidder and create a revolving door of school bus workers. He will let companies hire inexperienced workers to navigate New York City streets and care for children, many of whom have significant special needs.
The Teamsters Union represents school bus drivers, matrons and mechanics in New York City. Daniel Gatto, principal officer of Local 854, represents almost 1,000 drivers and matrons. Gatto said,
School districts need to provide the protections that New York City drivers fought for in order to have middle-class bus drivers and quality, safe school bus services.
Teamster school bus contracts do not allow strikes, and those contracts were honored. But Teamsters fully supported the members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) in their school bus strike and honored their picket lines.

Some ATU bus workers lost their jobs as a result of the strike, the Carroll Gardens Patch reported:
More than 100 drivers were fired from Boro Wide Buses in Red Hook this morning, confirms the New York Post. 
"Matrons who came back to work this morning after their union ended its monthlong school bus strike were abruptly terminated—after being told their company had folded," says the report. 
Members of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union were allegedly told they could reapply for positions with affiliated bus companies—but only under a different union.