Threat of bus driver strike looms over upcoming start of school year

Threat of bus driver strike looms over upcoming start of school year

The city's Department of Education says a potential strike from members of a school bus union could impact the start of the school year.
DOE officials say they're having ongoing discussions with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), claiming that they're working through contract negotiations, but nothing has been agreed upon yet. 
DOE Chancellor David Banks says they're hopeful they can get a contract done, but said there is a possibility a strike could happen just before the start of this upcoming school year.
"Certainly, hopeful that we can avoid it, but just wanted to start to plant a seed to let people know about the possibility," Banks told members of his Parent Advisory Council on Thursday.
Banks adds that between 85,000 and 150,000 students could be affected if a strike does happen. However, the city is exploring some alternatives that may help parents, and provided News 12 the following statement:
"As negotiations continue, we are developing several contingency plans, as a precaution, to ensure students can get to school in the event of a strike -- including, but not limited to, providing students with emergency MetroCards, reimbursement for use of alternative transportation, and, in some cases, free rideshare. The city encourages the parties to remain at the bargaining table until they reach a voluntary agreement.”
News 12 reached out to the ATU for a statement regarding the possible strike. Carolyn Rinaldi, Chief of Staff at ATU Local 1181, says they have no comment at this time.