Share This Page

School bus drivers walk off job in Boston

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

BOSTON — A surprise strike by Boston school bus drivers stranded thousands of students on Tuesday, forcing some to hitch rides with cops, harried parents and even a police superintendent, while others just stayed home.

Most of the city district's 700 bus drivers suddenly went idle amid a dispute with the contractor that employs them, stranding about 33,000 students, according to district officials.

Drivers picketing outside the bus yards said the company was not honoring the terms of their contract. Schools spokesman Lee McGuire said the walkout was prompted, in part, by the union's opposition to a GPS system that allows parents to track buses online in real time.

An outraged Mayor Tom Menino called the bus drivers “angry people who don't like to follow the rules.” He called the strike illegal and said he would pursue every possible legal avenue to force drivers back to work.

“We will not allow them to use our students as pawns,” he said.

The company that operates the buses, Veolia Transportation Inc., went to court Tuesday afternoon seeking an injunction “to compel workers to go back to work and cease illegal activity.”

In the filing, Veolia asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order ending the strike, saying its contract with the drivers has three no-strike provisions.

Veolia argued the drivers have “harmed the public welfare” by taking away the only ride some children have to school. It said the strikers had “created an emergency of such grave and serious nature as to require issuance forthwith of a temporary restraining order.”

The national office of the United Steelworkers, which represents the drivers, said it did not condone the strike and had instructed them to go back to work as soon as possible.

The city scrambled to find ways to get kids to classes, with police shuttling some to school in cruisers and vans, while those with valid student ID cards were allowed to ride transit buses and subways for free.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.