NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With the New York City school bus strike now a week old, it’s starting to get nasty.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Wednesday, buses parked in depot had their tires slashed in the dead of night.
The vandalism happened at a private bus company in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — MV Transportation — which operates Reliant Buses.
Overnight, a dozen buses were vandalized.
“We found about 12 vehicles — some of them four tires, some of them a couple of tires that are punctured and just flat,” said Adem Adem of MV Transportation.
The vandalism, or sabotage, happened not at the company’s main yard, but at a satellite lot a quarter-mile away. The satellite lot has no security camera, but bus officials said police were patrolling the main gate at the time.
Adem said it was a “possibility” that the reason for the vandalism could be that the company is hiring non-union drivers.
MV Transportation has been picketed, but has continued to run some routes with new drivers.
“We are in full force, hiring people and operating,” Adem said, adding that the company is not popular with the city school bus drivers who are striking.
The school bus strike began a week ago. Michael Cordiello of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union said the drivers will strike until Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city agree to put a job security clause back into their contract.
But the Bloomberg administration has insisted that it cannot do any such thing, and that such a clause would be illegal.
The strike has idled more than half the city’s school buses, forcing an estimated 113,200 students to find other ways to get to school. The striking drivers were reacting to the vandalism Wednesday afternoon.
“I think it’s a terrible thing, but I don’t know who’s behind it,” one driver said.
“We would never do that,” added another driver, Kennedy Romelus. “Whoever did that, that was against us.”
The city spends nearly $7,000 a year for each student on a bus, far more than any other city. The mayor wants to rein in the costs and eliminate job protection.
The legality of the strike is under review by the National Labor Relations Board. A ruling could rule later this week.
If the strike is determined illegal, drivers and bus matrons could be forced back to work.
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