The Chancellor just finished a news conference falsely claiming that the union’s strike would be illegal due to a Court of Appeals case brought two years ago. The case, Matter of L&M Bus Corp was brought by bus owners to strike down the Employee Protection Provisions of a bid for bus services. The EPP provided some job protection for unionized drivers by providing that new bus route bids be provided first to laid off drivers The DOE went along since it help to guarantee that bus companies would hire experienced drivers instead of less expensive, inexperienced ones.
The DOE and union appeared in the case to defend the bid but it was eventually struck down by the Court of Appeals. The Court did not outlaw seniority provisions or protections but said that the EPP was not proper since it was overbroad. The DOE then issued a bid without any provisions for seniority and refused to bargain about seniority provisions (sound familiar) and unlike the UFT the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 is preparing to strike. There are many bus companies and a few unions. It is unclear what these other companies and union members will do. Walcott believes the strike will go forward but could not give a date but has been assured that Local 1181 will give 24 hours’ notice.
A summary of the case referred to by Walcott follows.
Petitioners, 23 transportation vendors, commenced a CPLR article 78 proceeding to prevent the Department of Education ("DOE") from implementing allegedly illegal bid solicitations related to a school transportation contract. At issue was whether certain specifications in the bid solicitations of the DOE comported with the public bidding laws. The court held that the "Employee Protection Provisions" ("EPPs") contained in the solicitation were subject to heightened scrutiny and held that the DOE had not proven that the EPPs were designed to save the public money, encourage robust competition, or prevent favoritism. The court, however, applied the rational basis review to the remaining disputed bid specifications and held that the DOE's actions regarding pricing of school transportation and discounted payment arrangements were rational business judgments that lie within the DOE's discretion.'