NYC Para Transit Drivers Officially On Strike

5 days ago, I wrote about the possibility of NYC Para Transit drivers going on strike on Monday if both sides did not return to the bargaining table. Unfortunately Monday is here & the drivers are officially on strike. Here is a brief article about the strike courtesy of 1010 Wins:

A union representing 1,500 drivers for the disabled and chronically ill went on strike Monday.

The companies they work for serve nearly half of the passengers who cannot use mass transit for health or physical reasons.

Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the managers, confirmed the strike began after midnight. The union could not immediately be reached for comment.

A union representing 1,500 drivers for the disabled and chronically ill said a strike was all but certain Monday after management refused to meet for round-the-clock negotiations.

The Para Transit Drivers and Mechanics of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181-1061 rejected a contract offer in the fall. Since then, the union said, management has turned down requests to resume talks.

“Rather than commit to collective bargaining, the bus companies have deliberately brought us to the picket line,” said Tommy Mullins, a union vice president and trustee of the local.

The private bus companies claim an internal union struggle is behind the walkout threat.

Yesterday the MTA issued a statement on the possibility of a strike on behalf of their NYC Transit division. Here is their statement:

NYC Transit is aware that Amalgamated Transport Union Local 1181-1061 has threatened to call for a job action or strike against four Access-A-Ride carriers on Monday, December 10, 2007. Those carriers are: Atlantic Paratrans, Inc.; Maggies Paratransit Corp. ; Mv Transportation, Inc., and; Transit Facility Mgmt Corp.

These carriers, under contract with MTA New York City Transit provide approximately 50 % of Paratransit daily scheduled services. However, this is a private labor dispute between the ATU and the carriers. NYC Transit is not a party to these negotiations.

Access-A-Ride will continue to schedule trips for users of the service who rely on these contractors. However, this is subject to change as we determine the availability of drivers and vehicles and other delays that could arise in the event of a job action.

If there is a job action against these providers, NYC Transit will reassign affected subscription trips, especially medically essential trips (i.e. dialysis treatment, chemotherapy, etc.). NYC Transit also has contingency plans to utilize supplemental service provided by private ambulette carriers. Where possible, the Paratransit Command Center will rely on additional vehicles and drivers provided by other Access-A-Ride providers.

This added capacity will also be used to address customers whose return trip is affected by any job action. Paratransit will also respond to customer inquiries and authorize taxi or vouchers for car service to those affected customers who call to make alternate arrangements. But customers will only be allowed to book next day trips in advance.

Lets hope this issue is resolved as quickly as possible where both sides are satisfied. The disabled riders need every bit of service this provides even if it is sub par in many ways.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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