BROOKLYN - Bus drivers working at Caravan Transit in Brooklyn went on strike early Wednesday morning after they say the owner of the company tried to void their union contract.

According to workers, the owner of Caravan improperly broke off negotiations with union members this fall, looking to terminate union protection for employees. The bus drivers regretted going on strike on a school day, but said they were left with no choice.

The bus drivers are responsible for 31 routes, including minibus routes that transport special needs students with disabilities. According to officials, nearly 700 special needs children were left without bus service Wednesday.

?Parents have to go [to] work. If we don't get there on time to pick up the kids they can't go to work,? Pierre Jerome, driver and union chair, says. ?Those are special needs kids. Not anyone can just pick them up and take them to school ? we are trained for that.?

According to some drivers, most of the current drivers have worked at Caravan for more than 10 years, which is longer than the current owner.

A representative from the Department of Education says it will offer reimbursements to the parents of students using this bus company while the strike continues.