New York City students heading back to school are going to do it once again without school bus drivers and aides.
The city's school bus strike goes into its fourth day on Tuesday.
The conflict is over the city's need to rein in spiraling costs against the bus drivers' goal of keeping their jobs.
The city contracts with private bus companies. It says the city must seek competitive bids to save money. But Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union wants the new contracts to include job protections for current drivers.
Some buses were running last week because their drivers are not members of Local 1181. The city Department of Education said 2,320 bus routes out of 7,700 were operating.
Union head Michael Cordiello has said the drivers will strike until Mayor Bloomberg and the city agree to put a job security clause back into their contract. But the city has said competitive bidding laws make that request illegal.
Meanwhile, bus companies are being fined for missed routes and say they're unfairly being punished for the dispute between the city and the union. The National Labor Relations Board is expected this week to rule on a formal complaint from the bus companies claiming the strike is illegal.
The city's last school bus strike, in 1979, lasted 14 weeks. Bloomberg said at his news conference, "I hope this is not going to last a long time but it's not going to last past June."