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Parents to Improve School Transportation - PIST

Crash Shows Bloomberg's Union-Busting Scheme Endangers Schoolchildren
Parents Group Calls for Independent Community Investigation of
Bushwick Crash


Contact: Tony Murphy 347-602-1584 Sara Catalinotto 347-504-3310

Fourteen people in Bushwick were injured -- eleven of them children
-- when a car was slammed into by a school bus that union sources say
was operated by the non-union Fortuna Bus Company.

The accident took place at 8:00 AM on Tuesday -- the very same day
that Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened up bids to companies that are no
longer required to hire school bus drivers and matrons of Amalgamated
Transportation Union Local 1181, now in its fourth week on strike.
"This illustrates the safety issues that come up when you rely on a
non-union company," said Robin Benedetto, a school bus driver and shop
steward for ATU Local 1181. "Union drivers are safe. Non-union drivers
are not safe."

The school bus drivers and matrons now striking for their jobs have
widespread support in the city, including from parents and families
whose lives have been upended by the strike. They say Bloomberg's
attack on the drivers' job security is creating a climate of tension
and fear -- and blame the disruption in their lives on him.

"This is just one of many reasons why 'replacement' bus crews are
rejected by parents," said Sara Catalinotto, a founder of Parents to
Improve School Transportation (PIST). "Leaders of PIST, the CCSE and
other parents councils want the mayor to negotiate and get the
experienced drivers and attendants back to work. Guaranteeing their
job security is how Bloomberg can guarantee the safety and IEP rights
of bus-riding children now and in the future."

Catalinotto -- one of the speakers at the Sunday rally where 5,000
union members marched for job protection -- said that parents are
calling for an independent investigation by Bushwick community members
into what caused the accident.


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UPDATED Feb 13, 2013 4:09 PM
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