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New York City school bus drivers could be going on strike for the first time in 10 years

New York City school bus drivers could be going on strike
New York City school bus drivers could be going on strike 02:06

NEW YORK -- New York City could be seeing its first school bus driver strike in 10 years, and although not every student uses a school bus, those who do heavily rely on them.

Ashley Pimentel, from Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, starts her TSA job at 4 a.m. and relies on the city school buses to get her 12-year-old daughter, Sofia, to school at Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens.

"I don't have another means of getting her to school," Pimintel said.

With a possible school bus driver strike, remote learning would be the only choice.

"It's not fair to the kids who are disabled, who are disadvantaged in the first place to have to deal with this," parent Amanda Neville said.

Neville is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Her daughter, Nina, also goes to Lexington School for the Deaf.

In a meeting last week, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks estimated 85,000-150,000 students could be impacted by the strike.

"It would affect our younger students and our students with special needs. So, not a good situation," he said on Aug. 10.

Bus drivers are not city employees; they're contracted by TWU Local 1181.

In a statement, its president, Tomas Fret, says, "Drivers, attendants and shop employees simply cannot make ends meet," citing their agreements expiring in late June and that it's ready to negotiate a fair contract before the school year starts Sept. 7.

"I support the workers in this case. They're not getting what they deserve. It's my opinion that they should be city employees," Neville said.

City Public Schools says it's monitoring the situation, engaging with stakeholders and informing parents when it can, giving alternatives -- emergency MetroCards, reimbursement for alternative means and free ride-share, which parents would be required to join students on.

"She's not taking the train by herself to school, not now at 12 years old," Pimentel said.

A social worker with the girls' school shares it will have a remote option for students and will mail schoolwork to students in shelters and asylum seekers in hotels if needed.

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