The New York City School Bus Contractors Coalition, which represents the bus companies, condemned the strike, saying it would be illegal. The coalition said it would file unfair labor practice charges and civil lawsuits.
‘‘We will do our very best to safely operate during the strike and call on the union to conduct peaceful and responsible picket lines,’’ the organization said. ‘‘While we are the employers, this dispute is strictly between the union and the city regarding the removal of the Employee Protection Provision from the upcoming bids. Our hope is that a strike will be averted for the sake of the children and all who rely on this essential service.’’
The head of another union, Teamsters Local 854, said its members would not go on strike with the bus drivers because their contracts don’t allow it, but they would not cross any picket lines. Local 854 represents drivers, matrons and mechanics, some of whom work alongside members of ATU.
Dan Gatto, president of the local, put the blame on Bloomberg. ‘‘For weeks now, City Hall has refused to discuss the job-killing provisions they are insisting on as part of new contracts with bus contractors,’’ he said. ‘‘We urge Mayor Bloomberg and his administration to work with the ATU to resolve this dispute before a job action is required.’’
In 2011, the city said the union was threatening to strike over bus route contract bids, but the union said the warning was a false alarm. No strike took place.