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Daily News Profiles Local 553 Bus Attendant

“I can’t afford it,” Phillips said tearfully. “I won’t be able to afford any gifts for my granddaughter for Christmas. These companies need to realize we’re real people and we cry and we bleed.”

More than 85% of Teamsters Local 553 members working for Brooklyn-based Jofaz Transportation and Y&M Transit voted to authorize a strike Wednesday night.

Phillips, 47, said she’s been a matron for eight years, a job she loves because of the kids she works with.

She earns $10 an hour, or $400 each week before taxes.

Her current route covers Public School 370 in Brooklyn. She wakes up at 2 a.m. every morning to get ready for work and prepare for a one-hour, 45-minute commute to the bus depot in Red Hook.

The mother of five and grandmother of seven lives with her 3-year-old granddaughter, who she is raising, her husband, who is unemployed, and her 17-year-old son.

She has no disposable income and has diabetes. If she had to pay for health care, she said, it could sink her family.

“We can’t survive on what (they’re) paying us,” Phillips said.