The school bus strike that affected more than 150,000 city children for a month has ended.
Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, the main union for New York City school bus drivers, ended the strike Friday evening. Bus drivers will return to work on Wednesday when students return to school from winter break.
The ending of the strike signals a win for the Bloomberg administration, which had refused to agree to the union’s demands for job protections.
Union Leader Michael Cordiello said the union was encouraged to end the strike when a group of 2013 mayoral contenders expressed in a letter that they would revisit the issue of job protections if they are elected.
The strike began after the mayor’s decision to take away employee protection provisions from contracts with bus companies. The provisions had protected drivers from losing their jobs by requiring companies to hire drivers in order of seniority. The city had argued that such requirements are actually illegal and that bus drivers should negotiate directly with the companies that hire them.
The strike, which began on Jan. 16, took a toll on both drivers and students. Drivers were out of work for nearly five weeks earning only a small stipend from the union.
Students received free MetroCards and reimbursements for alternative transportation costs, but attendance was still down and many parents had to take time off work. The strike was especially hard on special education students who rely heavily on the buses to get to school.