The strike may be over, but some school bus matrons are still fighting for their jobs.
Two weeks ago, when Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 ended a month-long strike against school bus companies and the city of New York, it was assumed that everything would be business as usual. But in Brooklyn, more than 100 unionized bus assistants, known as matrons, were fired the morning they reported back to work after the executives of a bus company said their business was folding and their jobs were gone.
According to the New York Post, Joseph Fazzia, president of affiliated companies Boro Wide Buses, JoFaz Transportation and Canal Escorts, was overheard screaming at a group of matrons, “[I’ve lost] hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m not losing another nickel more. This union thinks they can tell me what to do? They can go f– themselves!”
In a letter signed by Fazzia, the inability to meet the Department of Education’s requirements is the reason given as to why the matrons no longer have jobs. Fazzia is also the same person who was charged in 2008 with lying to the FBI about making regular payments to former Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 1181 President Salvatore Battaglia.
Current ATU 1181 President Michael Cordiello issued a statement saying the union plans to fight Fazzia’s decision.
“It’s unfortunate that we still have some bus companies–whose profits come directly from the city and taxpayers–continuing on a path of complete disregard for both New York City’s parents and children by employing inexperienced scabs,” Battaglia said. “Parents should be outraged at the irresponsibility of not allowing Local 1181 members-who provide their children with safe, experienced transportation on wages that are barely above the poverty level–to return to their jobs and the families they know and care about. The union will take all appropriate actions to defend our members.” It’s been widely reported that since the 1970s, the union has been controlled by the Genovese crime family.
Initially, ATU 1181 President Michael Cordiello orchestrated the strike because the union wanted any bids the city took from contractors to include the Employee Protection Provision (EPP), which would have ensured the job security of union members and allowed them to keep their current hourly salaries–something that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has challenged from the beginning.
But after almost a full month of picketing, the union decided to call it off at the behest of mayoral candidate hopefuls former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, current City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Councilman Sal Albanese. They vowed to work with them on a solution if they’re elected in November.