New York

Rockville Centre School District Creates Temporary Fix Amid Bus Strike

The strike affects thousands of students in four Nassau County school districts along with about 400 in Queens

The hope for thousands of New York students to have a bus ride to school this week seems to be fading, however, one of the school districts affected is creating its own solution.

Negotiation talks between TWU Local 252 and Baumann Bus Company broke down Wednesday after about 10 hours and they seem to be far apart from coming to an agreement. The meeting ended around 2:30 a.m.

Baumann Bus Company says it agrees to wage increases, days and weeks paid when school is not in session, including during the winter holidays and spring vacations. However, the union says the offer from the company wasn’t enough.

Students in four Long Island school districts -- Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre and Hicksville -- will not have bus service until further notice. It also affects several hundred people in Queens. 

Rockville Centre School District doesn't appear to be waiting for the strike to resolve, however: the district hired a different school bus company to help pick up more than half of the students at seven schools there.

"There will be full transportation for tomorrow, Friday, Novemeber 10th," a statement on the school district's website reads in part.

Superintendent William Johnson said he's prepared to use the company through the end of next week and has talked to a district attorney about possibly floating a bid for a new contract. 

"This is not tolerable," he said. "We cannot keep this up."

Baumann said in a statement it was committed to continuing negotiations in good faith to resolve the issue.

“It is unfortunate that the Union has lost sight of the fact that strikes benefit no one, that the Union fails to acknowledge the movement made by the Company, and that the Union punishes employees who are trying to keep the buses running and earn a living.”

Debra Hagan, president of TWU Local 252, said the workers are fighting for some improvements to their benefits and wages. 

"They’re not looking at the needs of their employees and looking at what this is costing their employees to make this statement on the sidewalk," she said.

The next meeting will be Friday morning.

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