As the privatization agenda moves forward and attacks teachers and students it’s sometimes forgotten how school support workers are affected. At least in Oakland, custodial workers have gone years without a raise and numerous positions have been outsourced. A key and often overlooked outsourced position is afterschool workers. Increasingly they have been expected to shoulder more teaching–without any of the benefits and protections of teachers–as teachers have been cut and overburdened. All this points to a basic tenet of labor: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
In that vein, this article looks at the current New York City school bus drivers’ strike. They have walked out to prevent their union from being busted as Mayor Bloomberg continues his offensive against school workers. The strike is placed in this context of the larger attack on public education and its workers while pointing out the negative effects on students, particularly on special needs students and students who have lost their neighborhood schools to closures. Clearly, there are overlaps for Oakland.
The original article can be found at: http://occupy.com/article/new-york-citys-bus-strike-critical-juncture.
New York City’s Bus Strike At Critical Juncture
Mon, 01/21/2013 – 14:10
By Peter Rugh
The wheels on New York City’s school buses aren’t going round in what’s becoming a familiar song these days in America: education workers resisting attempts to balance budgets on their backs at the expense of students learning.
The current school bus strike in the Big Apple is no exception.
Last week’s walkout follows a successful strike by the Chicago Teachers Union last year against layoffs and the knotting of pay to standardized test results. Before that, teachers were a leading force in the 2011 occupation of Wisconsin’s capitol building in opposition to legislation that stripped state employees of collective bargaining rights. The measure passed but large sections of it were later ruled unconstitutional. And those who slept on the marble floors of Madison laid the groundwork for what would become Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement, challenging austerity amidst the worst economic crisis since the depression.
It’s in this atmosphere of heightened class conflict that the union representing New York City drivers, attendants and mechanics – who are responsible for transporting over 150,000 students in the country’s largest school district – called a strike. New York’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Schools Chancellor Denise Walcott are looking to nix employee protections that enable workers to keep their jobs when bus routes pass from one contractor to another.