**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
SEPTEMBER 27, 2013
Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis (212) 788-7081
JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS UNION IN DISPUTE WITH OWNERS
Administration Misrepresented Legal Positions; Judge Rules Companies Must Repay Lost Wages
(New York, NY)— Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that New York City’s busing companies will be required to repay school bus drivers and matrons lost wages and benefits following an illegally declared impasse last spring.
Earlier this year, I called on the City Council to launch a full investigation of the administration’s previous negotiations regarding the school bus driver’s strike, following misrepresentations surrounding their legal ability to bargain with Local 1181. Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott, and representatives of Corporation Counsel previously presented to the City Council information regarding the solicitation of contracts for school bus transportation services— specifically the decision not to include traditional Employee Protection Provisions (“EPPs”) for school bus drivers, matrons, and mechanics. They claimed that including the EPPs in the solicitation for bids was something “we are not legally permitted to do”, a claim that was false.
As predicted, through the administration’s removal of EPPs, bus drivers lost job security. Bus contractors no longer had an incentive to keep existing bus drivers who were likely to request fair wages and benefits for their labor. The actions of the administration, and their enabling of bus companies, effectively dismantled union power and hurt workers. The wage cuts implemented following the illegal impasse resulted in a 7.5 percent loss for drivers and 3.5 percent for matrons. The companies also reduced overtime, and made major cuts in health insurance contributions.
The NLRB’s ruling found that the employers violated the law by declaring impasse on March 19, 2013, and unlawfully walked away from the bargaining table to impose drastic wage cuts. The ruling comes on the heels of a Federal Court ruling earlier this month which also agreed the companies had improperly issued an impasse, and ordered all wage reductions overturned moving forward.
“The administration failed to act in good faith in these negotiations from the beginning, and it was the workers who were hurt. I hope that as we move forward the bus companies and the City can work together to finalize a fair agreement,” said Council Member Letitia James.