Nearly 20 percent of Boston’s students missed school on Tuesday due to a last-minute protest by bus drivers in the school district. Bus drivers returned to work yesterday after a one-day work stoppage, according to the New York Times.
The bus drivers were protesting myriad issues, including having routes re-assigned indiscriminately and a new GPS system that tracks drivers’ routes. But the union that represents the district’s bus drivers separated itself from workers’ decision to skip work, saying that the workers hadn’t followed grievance procedures, the Times reports.
The Times also reported that the strike may have been partly caused by the shutdown of the federal government: The bus drivers’ union in Boston had filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, which is not hearing cases due to the shutdown. The drivers decided to strike after learning that their complaints wouldn’t be heard.
The buses are rolling again, but Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that parents should be prepared for the drivers to strike again.
New York City’s bus drivers went on strike for more than a month earlier this year in order to avoid losing work protections. That protest was less sudden than the work stoppage in Boston: Bus drivers in New York called for a strike for several days before they officially stopped work, while parents, the mayor, and other officials were taken by surprise by the Boston workers’ action.
Photo: School children arrive in a Boston police van at the William Blackstone Elementary school after school bus drivers went on strike Tuesday. The city scrambled to find any way to get students to class after about 600 of the 700 drivers who work for the city’s bus contractor unexpectedly went on strike, affecting about 33,000 students. -- Mark Garfinkel/Boston Herald/AP
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.