Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bloomberg Unjustly Targets Bus Drivers

This Denis Hamill piece really gets at Bloomberg's meme that the greedy bus drivers and matrons are bankrupting this city:
Meet a working couple whom Mayor Bloomberg would see as a Bonnie and Clyde team looting the city’s bank.

Vic DiBitetto is a school bus driver. His wife, Lucy DiBitetto, is a matron on his bus. They both work for Pioneer Transportation, the largest school bus operator in the city, headquartered on Staten Island.
Vic drives all over Staten Island every morning picking up 20 special-education kids, most developmentally challenged, and Lucy is a matron — trained in things like CPR — tending to the safety of these special-needs children aboard the bus as they bring them to Intermediate School 61.

During the day, the DiBitettos often take the kids on school trips. In the afternoon, they drive them home.

After working 12 years as a matron caring for kids with autism, MS and physical and developmental handicaps, Lucy makes $15 an hour and takes home $397 a week after taxes. Vic, who has been driving for nine years, earns a whopping $22 an hour and takes home $700. That’s a combined $1,100 a week — about $53,000 combined take-home pay for a couple working a 10-month year.

They get unemployment in the summers. That’s what they live on in New York City in 2013.

And Bloomberg points his platinum-plated finger at the likes of this hardworking married couple as the culprits bankrupting New York?
Give Mayor Mike another “F.”

Bloomberg deserves a dunce cap and a fast ride back to school on the DiBitettos’ bus for a crash course in math.

“Listen, we’re not asking for some huge raise here,” says Vic. “We’re only asking for security for our jobs and pensions. I’m in my 50s. I wanna hold onto my $35,000-a-year job and make sure I have a pension. Does this make us the bad guys Bloomberg’s making us out to be? Here’s a guy, a dictator who changed the rules for himself by spending $100 mil to buy his way around the term-limits law for a third term, then changed the law back for everybody behind him, and he has the gall to say a bus driver making 35K is crippling the city?”

Vic says the last thing he wants to do each morning is walk a picket line.

“I want to be working,” he says. “I just want a guarantee I’ll keep my job and not be replaced by some untrained, inexperienced driver. The parents of the kids I drive have to ask themselves who they feel safer with: A driver like me with training and nine years’ experience or some inexperienced driver for minimum wage?”

Lucy took the safety issue a crucial step further.

“President Obama gave a speech in Newtown after the horrible school shootings saying the No. 1 job in America is the safety of our children,” she says. “Well, safety is what we provide every morning from the moment the children step on our bus until we drop them back home in the afternoon. I love my job. But $15 an hour in exchange for 12 years’ experience providing safety for special-needs children isn’t what’s wrong with the city.

There is a connection between this story - where the couple makes $53,000 a year in combined take home pay for a ten month work year  - and the one I covered yesterday about how you need now need to make $235,000 a year to be considered "middle class" if you live in Manhattan.

You see, the people Bloomberg really represents - the owners of this society - are making more money than ever.

You can be certain that Bloomberg's policies - along with those in Washington - are behind that.

Indeed, corporate profits are up 171% in the last four years, the highest levels ever, according to this analysis by Bloomberg News, the media company owned by our mayor:

U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.

 Business leaders cite low labor costs in an era of high unemployment, the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies, and their own management savvy for the profit boom.

Note the phrase "low labor costs" as the first reason for why corporate profits are up.

Then note how Bloomberg is looking to make sure most of the money the city pays for the busing of students goes to the bus company owners, not the drivers or matrons.

Also note now Bloomberg is fighting with the UFT over a new evaluation system which he will use to have thousands of veteran teachers fired and replaced by either cheaper, more pliable newbies or computer programs owned by Rupert Murdoch or Merryl Tisch's brother-in-law.

These are not coincidences - they are directly related.

Hold down labor costs, increase corporate profits.

That's the formula they're using - and it's the formula that is behind education reform as well.

Squeeze the workers, increase the profits to the highest levels ever.

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