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Union: New York City School Bus Strike Ends, But We Will Fight On

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)  -- The month-long strike by New York City school bus drivers quietly came to and end Friday night.

Sources familiar with the negotiation initially told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb and CBS 2's Marcia Kramer that the union decided to call off the strike. On Friday night, Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello confirmed the news.

"As Local 1181 has always said, our top priority is the safe transport to and from school of our City's children. With that in mind, our Executive Board voted earlier this afternoon to suspend the five-week strike, and return to work on Wednesday, Feb. 20," Cordiello said.

Cordiello said in no way is the suspension of the strike a sign of his side giving up its fight.

"The principles that we fight for remain pressing issues that the City will have to address. The fact is, a safe workforce is an experienced workforce and the Employee Protection Provisions currently included in the City's busing contracts protect our most experienced drivers, matrons, and mechanics – and have created one of the safest workforces in the entire country, Cordiello said.

"We continue to be dismayed by the Bloomberg Administration, which offered no assistance in bringing this strike to a close and furthermore, continued to mislead the public that the drivers, who make an average of $35,000/year and the matrons who make an at most $28,000/year, are somehow the driving force behind rising school bus transportation costs."

Cordiello said the sooner there is new leadership in City Hall, the better off it will be for all involved.

"In January when Mayor Bloomberg is gone, we are comfortable that his entire scheme will be rejected. We are grateful that so many elected leaders in this city are choosing the facts as a path to a conclusion, rather than a conclusion as a path to the facts," Cordiello said.

There was a lot of rancorous rivalry between the city and the union regarding a list of employees that the union wanted used to outline who would have jobs if new bus companies were to take over routes currently operated by union members.

School Bus Strike Apparently To End

Right now, there is no word on whether that has been resolved, but the buses will start rolling again Wednesday after students return from winter break, CBS 2's Kramer reported.

The walkout began Jan. 16 , triggered by the city's plan to put bus contracts out to bid to lower costs.

The union said it wanted a job security clause in those contracts, which the city said it can't legally do.

The strike had idled more than half the city's school buses, forcing an estimated 113,200 students to find other ways to get to school. The city spends nearly $7,000 a year for each student on a bus, far more than any other city.

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