With the strike ending, a Staten Island matron says she is happy that she will not have to drive her disabled son to school and brave the elements on the picket line. But she says the battle is far from over. NY1's Aaron Dickens filed the following report.
With the strike officially over, Jean Dileone said battling the elements on the picket line for the past month was worth it.
"We won the battle, but we didn't win the war," she said.
The matron and single mom also had to drive her 15 year-old autistic son Christopher to school during the strike.
"He missed a lot of instructional days because of it," she said. "But in the end, we fought for something that we needed, and we took care of our population."
The union voted to end the strike Friday, even though there is no guarantee that employee protection provisions, or EPPs, would be in all future contracts. Dileone said that she's not worried, because the EPPs in her company's contract do not expire until June of 2014.
Five Democrats who are either candidates or expected candidates for mayor wrote a letter urging to union to end the strike, pledging that if they were elected, they would revisit the union's issues in November of 2014.
"If the constituents vote for the right people in office and we have a different mayor, that we can come to a workable resolution," Dileone said.
Dileone makes about $16,000 a year at the Island Charter bus depot in Chelsea. She also works as a part-time hair dresser on the weekends. She said the union is not the only thing she is fighting for.
"When my son was diagnosed, I chose this profession," she said. "This is something that I wanted to do. It's not only a 24/7 job for me at home. I also take care of these children on the bus. It's a passion that I have."
Dileone is expected to return to work on Wednesday, when school resumes after the winter break. She said that if one of the mayoral candidates who signed the letter is elected and does not keep his or her promise, she would strike again.