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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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