NYC school bus drivers strike; demand Mayor negotiate - 01/17/2013
By Doug Cunningham
[Larry Hanley]: “We are the common victims of a mayor who is a billionaire and completely out of touch and out of control. He has picked this fight, staged it, brought it about on his calendar, not on any other schedule. He has an open fight with every worker who is employed by him right now in the city. He is refusing to negotiate contracts with cops and firemen and sanitation workers and teachers. The people are the victims and they should stand with us and tell this mayor to just cut it out and start being a mayor and stop being a billionaire.”
Amalagamated Transit Union international President Larry Hanley. Eight thousand school bus drivers – members of Amalgamated Transit Local 1181 – are on strike in New York City. The union says after fifty years of job protections and wage stability for school bus drivers Mayor Bloomberg arbitrarily threw that out by putting school bus contracts up for bids among private companies. That means the workers could suddenly lose their jobs or have their wages and benefits lowered. The ATU tried to avert a strike but Hanley says Bloomberg won’t even talk to the union. Hanley says ATU school bus drivers are committed to getting school children safely to and from school. He says safety is enhanced by job and wage stability among driver because qualified, experienced drivers stay on the job longer. Hanley says the people of New York and the union bus drivers are victims of a right-wing attack on working people.
[Larry Hanley2]: “This is Wisconsin and Michigan having come to New York City. It is a mayor who is on the same right-wing agenda – although sometimes he hides it – that Scott Walker has been on in Wisconsin. This is the right wing Tea Party attack on working people. And people in this country really need to take stock of what’s happening and stand up with organized labor in New York as they have stood with organized labor around the country.”