Boston Police cruisers and community-center vans were pressed into service as impromptu school buses when school-bus drivers struck this morning over proposed work-rule changes - including a new bus tracker for parents.
BPS says the strike by United Steelworkers of America Local 8751 caught it unawares:
Because of this, students will not be marked late and absences will be marked as “excused” in the Boston Public Schools during the disruption.
As the morning unfolded, police held overnight officers on the job. At first, officers were directed to cruise bus stops to tell parents and children no buses would come, but that quickly changed to a shuttle service - officers across the city ferried groups of two and three students at a time to their schools.
Now the question is: How will the kids get home in the afternoon?
City Councilor and mayoral candidate John Connolly was agahst:
It is shameful for the school bus drivers union to use our children as pawns in a political game. This is about safety first and foremost, and it is totally unacceptable that our children were put at risk this morning, not to mention the impact on thousands of parents who will miss work. Missing even one day of school is a real problem for our children who face a daunting achievement gap.
State Rep. and fellow candidate Marty Walsh was equally appalled:
Kids and parents must come first. This is wrong. The bus drivers have put our children in harm’s way. This is an illegal action, causing a huge disruption, and I call on the bus drivers to return to work immediately. This is a violation of the contract and cannot be tolerated.
This is the first fall BPS buses are being run by Veolia Transportation, after a rocky relationship between BPS and its previous bus operator.