NYC school bus drivers at work Tuesday, strike still looms - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

NYC school bus drivers at work Tuesday, strike still looms

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

New York City school bus drivers were on the job Monday and are expected on Tuesday, but the threat of a possible strike still loomed.

There's concern from parents of city school children on how their children will get to school if there is a strike. 

"There has been a lot of discussion, a lot of messages going back and forth like can you get my kids tomorrow? I don't know if I'm able to take them."  

Brooklyn mom Gabrielle Napolitano is one of countless city parents trying to make a backup for the morning in the event her children's school bus driver goes on strike. 

"It's really a lot of schedule shifting," said Napolitano. 

The union representing the yellow bus drivers, Local 1181 Amalgamated Transit, is threatening to walk off the job because the city has put out a bid for a new contract for bus operators to try to trim costs. 

Union officials say a lack of employee protections in the bid could mean some drivers lose their jobs and they argue hiring less experienced drivers for lower wages could jeopardize safety. 

"A strike is the last card we want to play but if we are given no other option, we will do what we need to do to protect the children of the City of New York and to protect the work force of the New York City bus industry," said Michael Cordiello, President Local 1181. 

"The union is trying to scare the parents and the students by saying safety will be at risk, that's the farthest thing from the truth and it is unacceptable for the union to be saying that," replied Dennis Walcott, NYC Schools Chancellor. 

Chancellor Walcott accused the union of playing games with students and their families as he urged parents to make a plan. 

"We are not going to stand for it, but we will be prepared for it." 

Walcott says in the event of a strike: 

-Impacted students can pick up metro cards at their school.

-Parents who don't live near mass transit may request reimbursement take their child to school in a cab, and if they drive can be reimbursed for 55 cents a mile. 

If the strike happens and a student cannot make it to school, the Department of Education will be posting materials from the curriculum online.

Again right now all of this is just a big if -- the union has given no indication when a possible strike would begin.  There have been no negotiations between the union and the city since last month.

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