Boston Bus Drivers Walk Out in 3rd Strike in 5 Years

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School-bus drivers in Boston went on strike last week, leaving some 27,000 students to find their own way to school.

A federal mediator was expected to enter the negotiations late last week to help bring an end to the strike, the third by the bus-drivers' union since 1986.

Despite the walkout, the public schools registered an 82 percent attendance rate on the first day of the strike and 80 percent on the second day, when heavy storms hit the city, according to Larry W. Faison, an assistant to Superintendent Lois Harrison-Jones.

Attendance in the 60,000-student system had averaged 92 percent shortly before the strike began.

City Buses Added

Mr. Faison attributed the relatively high level of attendance to the district's contingency planning and the willingness of parents to ensure that their children got to school.

The city bus system added 50 buses to its routes, and the district provided bus passes to middle- and high-school students.

Parents of elementary students, who needed to accompany their children to school, were also provided with bus passes paid for by the school system.

The drivers are seeking a 14 percent salary increase over two years.

Although the drivers work for an independent bus company that contracts with the school system, any salary increases would have to come out of the schools' budget, according to Mr. Faison.

"We do not have additional funds to pay them with regards to the increases they are requesting," he said.

Other Activity

Elsewhere, teachers went back to work last week in Breathitt County, Ky., and in the Idaho communities of Nampa and Parma.

But teachers remained on strike in four Illinois, two Michigan, and nine Pennsylvania districts.

In Illinois, teachers in Elgin, the largest district to be affected by a strike thus far this school year, have been out since Sept. 9.

Teachers in Rogers City, Mich., walked out Sept. 10.

Strikes in a handful of the Pennsylvania districts date back to the end of the Labor Day holiday.

Vol. 11, Issue 05, Page 9

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