Striking Union Bosses Fight to Keep Lucrative Routes

From running ads insisting inexperienced drivers could harm students, to blaming Mayor Bloomberg for the strike, ATU union bosses are pulling out all the stops to keep their cash cow relationship with New York City going.  For many years, they have threatened a strike every time their wishes are not fulfilled.

Al Baker and Marc Santora have the story in the New York Times:

The strike that began Wednesday, which idled more than half of the city’s school buses and forced about 113,000 children to find new ways to school, was prompted by a fight over union jobs. But its true roots are in an attempt to reform one of the most inefficient transportation systems in the country, one that costs almost $7,000 a year for each passenger, an amount so high that many of those children could hire a livery cab for about the same price. By comparison with the next three largest school districts, Los Angeles spends about $3,200, Chicago about $5,000, and Miami, $1,000.

In New York, the straightforward task of transporting children to and from school has become a morass of good and bad intentions, shortsighted marketplace policies and outright corruption.

The mayor’s aides say the fight is not about the drivers, but about changing a system troubled by archaic contracts from another era.

The history behind the current standoff can be traced back at least to 1979.