School bus drivers prepare to strike in several Nassau districts

Posted: Updated:
OCEANSIDE -

Hundreds of school bus drivers could hit the picket line Wednesday, leaving thousands of parents in several Nassau school districts scrambling to find alternative transportation for their children.

TVU Local 252 represents more than 300 Baumann bus drivers, monitors and maintenance workers. The union is threatening to strike after what it calls months of failed negotiations over pay, 401(k) contributions and sick time. 

A strike would affect schools in Freeport, Hicksville, Baldwin, Rockville Centre and some parochial and private schools. 

"We are meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at the table for negotiations and that will determine what we do from there," says Debra Hagan, the union's president. "If there is no movement, rest assured we will be walking."

Workers held signs and chanted Tuesday morning across from the Baumann bus yard in Oceanside.

Bus company officials told News 12 in a statement, "Baumann has made a fair proposal of a 2 percent pay increase…Baumann has also proposed economic increases in other areas as well.  Baumann has stated throughout that Local 252's demands are unreasonable."

The back and forth has left school districts scrambling to come up with contingency plans in the event of a strike. William Johnson, the superintendent in Rockville Centre, says they are trying to figure out solutions to potential problems, including after-school sports teams and shuttling disabled students. 

In the event of a strike, Freeport school officials say early drop-off and late pickup times will be announced as needed. 

Hicksville will have its building open for extended hours from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in the event of a strike. The districts say parents will receive updates through their websites and robo-calls.

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