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Striking School Bus Employees In It For Long Haul

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The picket lines remain up at school bus depots all around the city, with bus drivers and matrons continuing the walkout that began Wednesday. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

On Thursday morning about the only vehicles moving at the Meredith Avenue school bus depot in Travis were police vans monitoring the picket lines and the cars of striking workers moving in for their daily picketing duties or pulling out after a long night on the line. Time for the shift change.

The striking drivers and matrons are working the line 24 hours a day when they'd rather be working on the buses and getting paid.

"Really don't want to be out here," said one union member.

On the second day of the strike by local 1181, not one bus left the Staten Island depot on a morning run. While on the first day of the walkout some non-union drivers refused to cross the picket line, on day two it appeared they didn't even bother to show up, in a show of support for striking workers who are demanding job security in their next contract with bus companies competing for city routes.

"Security is a main factor. I mean how are we supposed to live? We're not making a lot of money," said one school bus employee.

"It's very hard. I need money because pay mortgage, I pay bills, I pay everything," said another school bus employee.

While there were some concerns of possible flareups between strikers and non-strikers, the situation on Meredith Avenue was peaceful, although some on the picket line said they resented the mayor calling some strikers reprehensible after reports they had briefly stood in the way of buses.

"No one here gets rowdy. We all have a peaceful point to make . No one is stopping anyone from rolling out here that is not union," said Julio Echevarria, a union represented school bus driver.

The picket lines are meant to operate around the clock. And some say it will get easier when they start receiving strike pay in about a week. But that is no big haul as it works out to about $30 a day.

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