Updated 03/22/2013 02:46 PM
School Bus Workers' Pay Cut Prompts New Strike Threat
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The union representing thousands of school bus drivers and matrons says all options are on the table as it fights to stop impending pay cuts, including another strike.
Bus companies are expected to cut hourly wages by 7.5 percent starting April 15.
They also plan to eliminate pay for Christmas and Easter breaks, starting next week, and will ask workers to pay more for health insurance.
The companies have declared an impasse because they say the union rejected their latest contract offer, which was mailed to each worker.
The impasse allows them to legally implement parts of that offer, including cuts to wages and benefits.
The move comes weeks after bus drivers and matrons ended their month-long strike demanding job protections in new bus contracts.
The union is now seeking an injunction against the pay cuts from the National Labor Relations Board but could go even further.
"As always in private industry we do have the right to strike, it is one of the options, but we will explore again, as I had said previous to the last strike, we really try to do everything we can in our power to get the result that we need without having to impact anyone with a strike," said ATU 1181 President Michael Cordiello.
"I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I am so frustrated and so angry but I will get back on this bus this morning and pick up every one of my students with a smile," said Phyllis Schettini, a school bus driver.
The bus operators say they need to stay competitive.
Meanwhile, the coalition of bus companies is blaming the union saying it rejected their good faith offers and overtures, including opening the books to prove they are losing money.
The unpaid holiday time begins next week when students take their spring break.