NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Several school bus companies have filed a lawsuit against New York City Monday, seeking to have existing protections for drivers declared illegal as those drivers press on with a strike.

As 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, the lawsuit seeks to have present job protections tossed. The city now only says it is illegal to offer the protections for the senior drivers in future contracts, which is exactly why the drivers are striking.

In a statement, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, which represents the striking bus drivers, called the lawsuit “union busting at its absolute worst.

“For over 30 years, the Employee Protection Provision has created one of the safest and most experienced workforces in the country, without contributing to the rising costs of busing throughout New York City,” the statement said. “Neither the city, nor bus companies, have ever shown that the EPP adds costs, and as recent as last Friday, (Schools) Chancellor (Dennis) Walcott, when pressed by the City Council, could not cite any examples that proves it is a cost-driver.”

The striking drivers walked off their jobs Jan. 16. The strike stemmed from a decision by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott have to pick the most competitive bus companies to cut the costs of busing about 150,000 students to school, which have risen from $100 million in 1979 to $1.1 billion today.

Michael Cordiello of Local 1181 said the drivers would strike until Mayor Bloomberg and the city agree to put a job security clause back into their contract. The union demanded that job security provisions be part of a competitive bidding process.

In the wake of the lawsuit, the union said the city should explain exactly how, and how much, the employee protection provisions drive up costs, and postpone the bidding process in the meantime.

But New York City received 67 bids by school bus companies as it opened competitive bidding for new contracts Monday, the Department of Education confirmed.

The city estimated that as of Friday, the school bus drivers’ strike had cost $19.2 million. The city said it has had to spend money on student MetroCards and reimbursements ever since the strike began.

Where do you stand on the strike? Leave your comments below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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