School buses are seen parked behind a locked bus depot fence in the Queens borough of New York January 16, 2013. For the first time in 34 years, New York City bus drivers went on strike, stranding up to 152,000 students in the nation's largest public school system on sleet-soaked Wednesday morning. (Photo : REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
It's day two of the New York City school bus strike pitting the bus unions against the city and leaving parents and students stuck in the middle.
The NYC school bus union announced on Monday that its drivers were going on strike due to Mayor Mike Bloomberg's refusal to renew a clause that would protect jobs in their new contract come June. However, the City claims that it needs to open up opportunities to private companies in order to cut costs.
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"I came to urge the mayor to resolve this strike," stated Michael Cordiello of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union on Tuesday. "It is within his power to do so."
The job security provision has been intact for 34 years. However, Bloomberg argued that the city must seek competitive bids from private bus companies to save money and that the strike "is about job guarantees that the union just can't have."
School Chancellor Dennis Walcott also pointed out, "New York City is the only district in the country that has the employee protection provision."
As both sides are adamant about their stance, there's no telling when this strike will end. As a result, parents have been forced to find other means to get their children to school. The city issued Metro cards to parents on Wednesday, but it turned out that there was a delay in activating many of the cards for use on transit buses. The city also promised to reimburse parents for gas mileage, however local city council leaders complained that working class families can't afford to pay the extra cash up front.
Wednesday was the first day of the strike, and there was reportedly only a 2 percent drop in normal attendance in NYC schools.