'I love my job.' NYC school bus attendant calls for fair contract amid possible bus strike

An attendant for Boro Transportation, who spoke exclusively with News 12 on the condition of anonymity, says the workers don't want to strike.

Greg Thompson

Aug 29, 2023, 9:53 PM

Updated 268 days ago


Next Thursday is the first day for New York City Public Schools, but according to the Department of Education, an estimated 80,000 students might not have a way into class, with the workers who service half of the bus routes in the five boroughs threatening to strike without a new contract.
An attendant for one of those companies - Boro Transportation, who spoke exclusively with News 12 on the condition of anonymity, says the workers don't want to strike, saying "I really want to go back to work next week to see my little kiddies on the school bus, to meet new parents and new kids, see their smiles on the bus and everything - I love my job."
But citing long hours, low pay that hasn't improved in years and decreasing benefits for newer hires, she says they don't have much of a choice, since "our life is in danger when we wake up early in the morning to take the train to get to the job to pick up the bus, to pick up the kids to make sure they get to school safe and everything, and they don't want to give us a fair contract."
According to both the attendant and a driver at another company threatening to strike, the union representing all of them is asking the companies guarantee their weeks, give workers the same benefits as "legacy employees" who were hired in 2013 and before, and to raise their pay.
Matrons, or attendants are asking for between $23 and $25 an hour, while drivers are seeking $35, which they say is in line with what MTA bus drivers work. The attendant says she's been on the job for seven years and currently makes $18 an hour, while coworkers who have been there for 29 years are making the exact same amount.
"Everything's going up high," she says. "Rent is going up high, the boroughs are going high, MetroCards are going high and everything, and they want to pay us less? I don't think it's fair."
While she tells us she still has full faith in the union, she is surprised negotiations have gone on this long, telling News 12, "Now is stressful, imagine next week, and if we can't go back on the school bus to pick up these kids, it'll be more stressful for us. I just want to be done, and let's get back to work."
The Department of Education released a contingency plan that includes offering emergency MetroCards for families and access to ride shares as well as the possibility of reimbursing students who need to take taxis or personal cars to school.

More from News 12