NLRB Finds New York City School Bus Strike Is Legal

Filed under: Labor,News,Politics,The Economy,Unions |

New York’s school bus strike can keep rolling.

A strike by New York City bus drivers is legal and may continue, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled.

Drivers strike New York City school bus companies.

Drivers strike New York City school bus companies.

The NLRB has found that a strike by union bus operators against a group of New York school bus companies does not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because the union has a primary labor dispute with the employers.

A group of 20 bus companies alleged in an NLRB charge filed office Jan. 16, 2013, the that a strike called by Local 1181-1061 of the Amalgamated Transit Union was unlawful because the union’s primary dispute was with the New York Department of Education, which contracts with the bus companies for service to area schools.

About 5,000 Local 1181 workers walked out on Jan. 16, 2013 when the city removed job protections from new bus contracts, the first since 1979, which went out to bid in December 2012.

The NLRB found that the bus companies, which maintained collective bargaining agreements with the union for many years before they expired in December, are primary employers in the labor dispute, along with the Department of Education.

“It is well established that more than one employer may be a primary employer” under the NLRA, the memo explained.

The NLRB will also dismiss the illegal secondary strike charge.

“Today’s ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is further confirmation that Local 1181’s effort to protect the jobs of the most experienced and safest school bus drivers and matrons is not only necessary for the well-being of New York City’s school children, but is perfectly legal,” said Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello. “In fact, today’s NLRB decision not only supports the legality of the strike, but validates 1181 ‘s longstanding position that the New York City Department of Education, in addition to the bus companies, is a primary employer associated with this work stoppage.”

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg “has the power to put our drivers and matrons back to work as early as Monday,” Cordiello said.

“I hope that mayor Bloomberg recognizes the impact of today’s decision, and decides to come to the table with the union and bus companies to resolve the strike,” Cordiello said.

Cordiello asked Bloomberg to suspend the bus contract bids, and said the union was willing to discuss ways to reduce costs.

The NLRA prohibits unions from striking secondary employers in order to pressure the employer with whom they have a dispute.

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