Local 553 Speaks Out on School Bus Wages
The City Council approved $42 million in 2014 in payments to private companies to boost driver wages that year – but a city agency renewed the program for another year on its own, and is now moving to extend it for a third year.
An SBS spokesman said the agency does have the authority to extend the program, since the city charter gives it the power to implement programs in support of employment in the city.
Demos Demopoulos, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 553, which represents bus drivers, said the payouts are “a Band-Aid” to fix the lack of protections for drivers, which were removed under the Bloomberg administration.
“It did little more than put less experienced workers on our school buses and undercut the pay and benefits of working-class families. It did little more than replace labor peace with strikes and turmoil,” he said.