BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A federal judge refused to intervene on Tuesday evening in the dispute involving striking Boston school bus drivers.
The city’s bus contractor, Veolia Transportation, had asked the court to issue a restraining order against the drivers that would effectively prevent them from striking and order them back to work.
An attorney for the United Steelworkers Union told the judge that local and international union representatives had already ordered drivers to go back to work. He said the strike was not sanctioned by the union, so an injunction could not be levied. The union attorney noted that individual drivers are responsible for the strike, not the union as a bargaining entity.
Read: Injunction request (.pdf)
The judge ruled that a restraining order would be inappropriate in this particular situation. It was not known whether the wildcat bus strike, which saw hundreds of school bus drivers walk off the job at the last-minute Tuesday morning, would enter a second day.
Mayor Tom Menino has asked parents to plan alternative transportation for their children again on Wednesday morning. He said all schools will be open an hour earlier to make it easier for parents to drop off their children. The MBTA will be offering free transportation to Boston Public School students. Any child under age 11 must be accompanied on the MBTA by an adult.
“I want to thank the parents,” Mayor Menino said at an evening press conference. “This is extremely frustrating for them and I don’t blame them for being angry. I’m extremely angry. Our young people should not be hurt because of selfish people who only want to cause disruption in our city.”
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong Reports
The mayor said attendance was 82 percent on Tuesday. “This union cannot stop our schools from educating our young people,” Menino said. “The only thing in jeopardy here is their own livelihood.”
After school sports were canceled for Boston Public School students Tuesday afternoon, and parents were told to pick up their children.
“This has been a day that has tested us as a school community,” Superintendent John McDonough said. “Parents truly have been heroes today. Principals, teachers and staff, Boston Police, the Mayor’s Office and so many others have gone above and beyond to help students get to school. The drivers may have staged an illegal action and stopped the buses, but it will not stop the business of teaching and learning in the City of Boston.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports