Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said a strike by the city’s yellow bus drivers may still happen this week, and that parents should be making their preparations now.
Speaking at a news conference Sunday, Walcott outlined new steps the city is taking to deal with a strike including deploying more transit officers, crossing guards, and school safety officers. He said reimbursements and metrocards will be offered to parents who would need transportation alternatives.
Walcott said union leaders had assured him they would give at least 24 hours notice before striking.
“I know they are distributing signs to the various bus depots or bus garages, and talking about potentially picket signs but again, I don’t know a definitive date,” he said. “We may know something this afternoon, we may know something tomorrow, we may know something on Tuesday, who knows? That’s totally disrespectful to our students.”
NY1 reported that members of Local 1181 said the Amalgamated Transit Union said a strike is planned for Wednesday, with the union making its announcement on Monday.
More than 152,000 public school students, including 54,000 with special needs, rely on yellow buses to get to and from school each day. In an effort to reduce costs, the city put expiring bus contracts out to bid.
The move prompted concern from the union which wants job protection clauses included in any new contracts, something the city has said it is legally unable to do.