A school bus strike affecting thousands of students in several Long Island school districts has ended, with drivers deciding Thursday to go back on the job after more than a week of stalled negotiations between the union and the bus company.
About 300 TWU Local 252 union workers went on strike Nov. 6 amid negotiations with Baumann & Sons Buses Inc. over wages and payment for transporting students on field trips.
Thousands of students in the Freeport, Baldwin, Hicksville and Rockville Centre districts in Nassau County have been affected by the strike. Districts had started using outside bus companies to transport students.
TWU Local 252 President Debra Hagan had said the union recognized that the strike was a burden for the parents and the schools.
"It’s unfortunate that we had to stand up and take action against a corporate bully who has no regard for the workingmen and women of Long Island," Hagan said in a statement Thursday. "Now that we have won gains on our top priorities, with a contract offer including a new guaranteed week and higher pay for chartered school trips, our members at Baumann & Sons have begun to return to work."
"From the beginning, TWU Local 252 sought a speedy resolution to this dispute so our members could continue to serve our communities and provide safe transportation to the children in the affected districts," Hagan added.
Hagan said Baumann's latest offer includes raises, gains in sick leave and an increase in the employer's 401k contribution. She said the union would take the offer to its members on Friday.
Baumann said in a statement that the union reported the strike was over before it told Baumann, calling that "odd" and the entire strike "unnecessary."
"In the interest of labor peace, the company has offered to extend the proposed contract from three years to five years with the hope that this will bring comfort to the parents and children who endured this strike along with the Company and its employees," the statement said. "We hope that the Union seriously considers the proposal to lengthen the contract for a longer period for labor peace. We hope that you will encourage the Union to accept this offer."