NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- New York City school bus drivers, upset by a plan to have open-bidding for routes, could call a strike affecting 152,000 student riders, officials said.
Hundreds of bus drivers marched to City Hall Park Sunday, chanting for a strike, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The drivers are upset the school system has opened up competitive bidding for bus routes for the first time in 33 years to save money. The New York City Department of Education would not require new companies to retain current drivers, and the city said courts have ruled that putting any protection over current drivers in new contracts would be illegal, the New York Post reported.
Michael Cordiello, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, said a strike would be a last resort.
"I don't want to talk too much about a particular timetable. I don't want anybody to panic," he said. "Strike is the last card we want to play, but if we are given no other alternative and no other options, we will do what we need to do."
School officials said if there is a strike, students and parents of students with special needs will be given transit passes, all field trips will be canceled, and the parents of students who can't use public transit will be reimbursed for mileage and taxi fees, the Post reported.