As the Amalgamated Transit Union 1181 of school bus drivers moves into its fourth week of a strike, temporary workers and other drivers who are members of smaller, non-striking unions face pressure and backlash from ATU members and other supporters as they head back to work, reported The Wall Street Journal.
All but two of the smaller union's drivers have agreed to cross the picket line and return from the citywide strike of the 8,800 Amalgamated Union drivers.
But they are finding that the decision to cross picket lines a daunting, even frightening, task in a state with the highest percentage of union membership in the country.
"It's humiliating, people calling you names,” said Maida Borelli, a members of a much smaller union that isn't on strike. Borelli said she faces name-calling each morning as she pulls out of the Staten Island Bus Co. yard terminal.
“It’s the same thing on the way in and out. It's a little tough,” she told the paper.
Although 2,800 routes are up and running, still more than 4,000 routes remain without drivers. And the city has responded: Already 49 new drivers and more than 200 matrons have been certified by the city since the strike started, said Marge Feinberg, a Department of Education spokeswoman.
In addition, several bus companies have begun posting notices and applications online seeking to hire new drivers, including union members from out of state, said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for eight of the non-striking bus companies.
The Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the DOE have expressed optimism about getting the bus routes back up and running sooner rather than later.
But the city’s hardline stance against the union has miffed Michael Cordiello, ATU’s president, who says city is trying to "break" the union by re-routing certified drivers from other unions.
Cordiello says the union is prepared to take legal action to ensure that striking workers do not lose their jobs to replacement workers once the strike is over.