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A school bus.
New York City school bus drivers and matrons are on strike for the first time in more than 30 years, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg seeks to bid bus routes to the "lowest responsible bidder," endangering the workers' average earnings of about $35,000 a year and potentially putting less experienced drivers into school buses.

Bloomberg insists that his hands are tied and a court ruling prevents him from including the worker protections in a bidding process, but not all legal experts agree that Bloomberg's hands are quite as tied as he'd have us believe. Since Bloomberg rarely misses a chance to screw with workers in the city's school system and is clearly having a ball preaching austerity doctrine for special needs students and their bus drivers, though, figuring out what protections could legally be included in the bidding does not make the priority list.

Instead, it's parents who, like the bus drivers and matrons, are struggling to get by in an outrageously expensive city, who are now forced to give up income to get their kids safely to school:

Yissete Pallero, 27, a mother who lives in Downtown Brooklyn, also said the strike was costing her money.

On Wednesday, Ms. Pallero hustled to drop her oldest son, Brian Taveris, 11, who typically rides the bus, at his school in Williamsburg, before heading to work as a home attendant.

She will be at least 25 minutes late, she said, standing outside her white sedan in the rain.

“I’m clocking in late,” Ms. Pallero said.

She makes $11 an hour, so every minute matters to her. But she added, “I’m more fortunate than the parents who live farther” from school.

Bus matrons, by the way, have a starting salary of $11 an hour. That's who the brunt of this entire episode will fall on, striking workers or parents of students, making similar amounts of money and facing similar struggles. Nobody billionaire Michael Bloomberg knows, in other words, just people he'll try to pit against each other in the plutocrat's divide and conquer.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a good part of what's wrong with America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicolemm

    We just can't have bus drivers making a decent living. No sir, we've got to get it done cheaper no matter what.

    No one ever tries to figure out how to outsource CEOs or how to hire a cheaper CEO. No, it's always the poor working stiff that we just have to push down to the bottom of the barrel and we do it over and over again.

    This never ending push for cheap labor has enriched the one percenters beyond their wildest dreams and is rapidly increasing the number of families pushed to the bottom.

    I find it particularly irksome that Bloomberg wants to slap down the workers while he is worth millions if not billions. He begrudges every dime that a working person puts in their pocket. What an asshole.

    Thank goodness they still have a union so they can at least try to fight back. Without a union they would already be gone.

  •  Thanks for this diary (0+ / 0-)

    I'm an NYC parent who is directly affected by this, though my work allows me to report late, at least for now.

    When I see the Schools Chancellor on TV and read his letters to parents, I know that supporting the union in the right choice.  No leader with a clear conscience would ever push the corporate double-speak he's pushing....

    The idea that NYC taxpayers cannot afford "union" wages for its school bus drivers and matrons is simply a cruel hoax.  For the Board of Ed to seek a "non-union" contract with a supplier is wrong.  The city's interest in the schools is not simply the children -- it is and should be the people who work for and in the schools.  They are also people and should be treated with respect and dignity.

    The city's rich will just have to deal with matrons bringing in the big $9/hr...Suck it up, Captains of Industry!

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