Nearly a year after unionized school bus drivers in New York City went out on strike over the city's plan to put its school bus routes out to competitive bidding, one of the nation's largest school bus companies has announced it is closing its doors after union members voted to reject a contract that would have kept the company in business.
With its labor costs among the highest in the nation, Atlantic Express, a Staten Island, NY bus company attempted to negotiate a new contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union.
However, union members rejected the deal last week.
Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. and its unionized drivers were unable to reach a new contract agreement on Wednesday, and as a result, the more than 40-year-old bus operator on Staten Island said it will be shut down.
The Port Richmond-based Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 5. The company, which has operations in New York, as well as various other states, sent letters to its 5,500 employees last month stating that there will be a "complete shutdown of its operations," come Dec 31.
In addition to commuter bus routes and charter services, Atlantic Express has a contract with the city to provide school bus service. However, last month the city put 4,100 school bus routes out to bid.
Ms. Daly said last month that the bid has directly impacted Atlantic Express Bus Co.'s bottom line "because non-union companies can now compete for bus routes for lower prices, while Atlantic Express is tied to its union contract."
Although the ATU-represented school bus drivers that would have been affected by the contract numbered about 1,000, Atlantic Express employed approximately 5,500 people will now lose their jobs.
Ironically, last year's city-wide school bus strike was, in part, to protest of the New York's plan to put its routes out to bid and would have left senior drivers without "job protections."
Now, as a result of the union members' decision to vote down Atlantic Express' contract offer, none of those drivers will have jobs at all.
Read the rest about Atlantic Express' demise here.
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted at LaborUnionReport.com.