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Union Members Rally Outside Brooklyn Bus Depot

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Members of Amalgamated Transportation Union Local 1181 stood at the picket line Wednesday at a bus depot in East New York, demanding job security. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi has the story.

More than 8,000 NYC school bus drivers and matrons demanded Mayor Michael Bloomberg give them job security in the first day of a strike lead by Amalgamated Transportation Union Local 1181.

ATU members stood in picket lines at a bus depot in East New York Wednesday, many who say driving a bus isn't just a job for them, it's a career. Most of the protesters at the depot have been driving for more than a decade.

Drivers and matrons say by leaving employee protection clauses out of the city's request for bus contracts, their jobs are put in jeopardy.

"You have thousands of drivers right now that's worried, that's going to lose their mortgages, going to lose everything, this is their livelihood," bus driver Henry Jean-Louis said.

Many cars that drove by honked in support of the bus drivers.

Other unions who are not on strike and City Council members also showed up to show their support.

"The mayor is trying to bust their union and Local 100 is going to do everything in our power to make sure that doesn't happen," said Transport Workers Union Local 100 member JP Patafio. "We want to see a victory for the 1181 workers."

"This mayor, he needs to end this now. It's a disgrace," City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) said. "He's causing an inconvenience to our families and our children when he can end this tonight. Give these workers their job security so we can secure our children in school."

Many people in the crowd told us they drive disabled and special needs children to and from school. They say they're concerned about the students, but feel they have no choice.

"We're going get what we want, what we need and what we have to have," Jean-Louis said.

This is the first city school bus strike in nearly three decades.

Strikers say there will be people at the picket lines 24 hours a day until an agreement is reached.

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