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    NYC schools prepare for possible bus driver strike as students return this fall

    Friday, August 18, 2023 3:41PM

    ABC7 New York 24/7 Eyewitness News Stream

    NEW YORK (WABC) — A potential school bus driver strike could disrupt up to 150,000 students at New York City schools when they return to class this fall.

    Schools Chancellor David Banks first spoke about potential strike at a parent advisory council meeting on Aug. 10.

    He said he didn’t want to jump the gun but wanted to make parents aware it could be a possibility.

    “We’re working hard to avoid that but it is a possibility and if it is, we will have clear direction to all of out parents across the system,” Banks said. “What they can do to be prepared for that if we had (a strike), it would affect our youngest students and our students with special needs – so not a good situation – but certainly hopeful that we can avoid it.”

    Whether or not the strike unfolds depends on contract negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union.

    ATU Local 1181-1061, which represents over 8,000 bus drivers, attendants and shop employees, released a statement on Friday.

    The union president said bargaining agreements with many companies expired on June 30.

    “The school bus workers we represent are professionals and their work produces the safest mode of transportation in the City of New York,” union president Tomas Fret said. “It is the Union’s obligation to produce a contract for its members so they may provide for their families.”

    Fret went on to mention the school bus worker shortage that has gone on for several years.

    “Drivers, attendants and shop employees simply cannot make ends meet,” Fret said. “We remain ready and willing to negotiate a fair contract before the school year begins. Let’s make school bus a career again. Let’s not forget, our school bus workers transport the most precious cargo in NYC.”

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