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Union Claims City Turned Down Offer To End School Bus Strike

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N.Y. - As the city's school bus strike enters its third week, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 union says the city turned down an offer that may have ended the walkout.

Union officials say they asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg to delay the bidding process for new bus contracts so all sides could have time to negotiate.

The drivers would have gone back to work while those talks took place.

However, the union says the city would not agree.

In a statement, the city said postponing the bids would only guarantee the current billion dollar contracts stay in place next year, adding "The union is irresponsibly holding our students and City hostage over issues that can only be resolved by negotiating directly with the bus companies."

Meanwhile, some buses were back on the road yesterday after replacement drivers and matrons from a different union crossed picket lines on Staten Island.

The striking drivers want job protections in any new contracts, but the city says it cannot legally guarantee those protections.

Out of the city's 7,700 routes, 12.5 percent are currently running for general education students, and about 37 percent for special education students.



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