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December 05, 2013  |   Comments (44)   |   Post a comment

Atlantic Express to shut down at year’s end

By Thomas McMahon

Atlantic Express has operations in New York, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania, with a total of more than 5,000 school buses.

Atlantic Express has operations in New York, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania, with a total of more than 5,000 school buses.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After nearly 50 years in the school transportation business, Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. is set to close down at the end of the year.

On Wednesday, unionized drivers with Local 1181-1061, Amalgamated Transit Union, voted down a new contract offer from Atlantic Express.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome of the union vote,” Atlantic Express officials said in a statement. “Our goal was twofold: to enable Atlantic Express to continue our operations in a competitive and financially stable structure to ensure we continued our leadership in the school bus industry while preserving jobs and our company.”

With a fleet of more than 5,000 school buses, Atlantic Express is the fourth-largest contractor in North America. The company, founded in 1964, has operations in New York, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania.

In early November, Atlantic Express announced that it had filed for bankruptcy, citing its union battle, bidding issues and challenging earnings as key factors. Officials said at the time that the company would use the Chapter 11 process to explore the availability of additional debt or equity financing, market its assets for sale, and continue what they described as “challenging labor negotiations” for a new collective bargaining agreement with Local 1181.

On Wednesday, with the union having voted down a new contract, Atlantic Express officials said that they “gave the union our best offer, which was significantly better than what the new companies in the industry are providing. Without this labor contract, we have no choice left but to proceed with the sale of all of the company’s assets and contracts.”

Atlantic Express officials added in their statement that the company “has had the great privilege and honor of serving many great school districts, municipalities and regions for over four decades. As we begin the process of closing our business, we will work closely with all of our customers on contingency plans to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for everyone concerned.”

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Read more about: Atlantic Express Transportation Corp., New York, unions

Craig, I do not surround myself with people who make poor, idiotic decisions that affect thousands of people; just you apparently. Therefore, that whole what comes around - goes around thing is not applicable to me. Being the nice guy I am, I will offer you some canned foods or toys for tots if you need. Please leave your number in your next comment.

Bob A Booey    |    Dec 18, 2013 06:53 AM

This is the dumbest thread I ever read...I know all about bus companies and operations as I am in Sr. Management. A union and all the costs that go with it can kill a company. If any of you think that you will do much better at one company or another, you are wrong. Realize that a public companies expenditures are public. You can see where the money went. The workers put the nail in the coffin by not settling. A bus driver's job is 500/week for 40 hours. Maybe a little more or less some places. So now everyone held out for more money and where did it get you. Out of work. Stop blaming the rich and poor management. It is very simple. It costs money to run a business. Contracts are not always moneymakers and union demands too many times put companies out of business. In the future, don't form a union and trust in management. It may not be great but chances are you will still have a job.

Bob    |    Dec 17, 2013 07:00 PM

It is costly to live in Jersey as well. Many need to work two jobs to make ends meet. I am one of the Jersey AE drivers out of a job as well. Just because I live in Jersey doesn't mean its going to be fine and dandy. I still need to find a job! I still need money to live! Unemployment wont make ends meet down here either! I still have monthly bills to pay. Gas, electric, taxes, food, phone, insurance and now medical insurance. I have worked for AE over 15 years. The company have dumped on the employee more and more in the last 5 years. The union we have isn't good but it will help us if there ends up being a new owner and they take us on. I see blame for this company's poor business falling on the most recent ceo's.

Leslie    |    Dec 16, 2013 09:24 AM

Thank u robert, sammy and joe! We know whatssup?!!! Dudes nd dudettes are ignorant ane dont know what the hell they r talkn about! It costs 1500.00 for two bedrooms in nyc, oh and light nd gas rnt included, u must get cable ir u cnt watch tv and yes u need a cell or house phone, oh and food oh and u may have kids that eat, need clothes oh and the provider has to eat and buy clothes as to not be naked and get arrested for walkn bare ass! Shut the f@@#%%%% up! Thats where its@to live in nyc. U aint frm heah so ur input means whatt exactly????!!! These are our truths and on that note, my AE family, i wish u guys a blessed and prosperous holidays approaching! May God bless you ane your families, hii maria, thank u, i liked what u said as well.

lala    |    Dec 14, 2013 06:28 PM

First of all, uninformed bug mouths that dont know jack about whats going on. Go to the dept.of labors website ir google it. It is listed, plant closing, meaning ae. Evry single garage and how many will file for unemployment, dated nov.13,2013. They filed chap. 11, nov.4 almost a week prior. We voted on dec. 4 u stupid asses! Do the freakn math! They wre closing no matter what! That vote had nothing to do with it! Living in ny is costly and our salaries are what we need to live here. Thank u for ur ignorant comments. Info is the key! Speak on what u know! Im proud of my job and im proud to be a driver! We wont be pushed around nd treated like we r stupid! We said no, u freakn right! Life goes on and we will survive! To my AE brothers and sisters, God has our backs! I'm proud of u guys!

lala    |    Dec 14, 2013 06:04 PM

OMG Karen and Bobby fisher now Love Atlantic after leaving for greener pastures which quikly turned Brown when you got fired LMAO HOw'd that work out for you. Now your blaming the Union. You have got to be kidding me. Atlantic never cared about its drivers only to make money and screw whoever they could. Management were there only for a pay check. Watch how fast they jump to another company and leave the drivers out in the cold during the holidays. I for one am glad they are done.

Wilma    |    Dec 14, 2013 09:28 AM

Craig people like that dont understand till they hit rock bottom in their own lives... dont waste your time... People like that think they are always gonna be on top of the world but mark my words he will remember your comment when his turn comes his way...

Sammy    |    Dec 13, 2013 04:37 PM

Bob: Im glad you have your job for now but when you express hate towards other people without having all the facts you may be spitting upwards and what goes up must come down... so I really hope you never have to deal with half the stuff we have had to deal with at this company... Before you comment just remember that what goes around comes around...

Craig    |    Dec 13, 2013 04:23 PM

Craig, what would I be jealous of? Your possible upcoming unemployment claim? I am working and will continue to do so. Your fellow driver's attitudes like you guys won something is what's nauseating. Is A.E. 100% right? Absolutley not but 1181 is not an innocent victim here.

Bob A Booey    |    Dec 13, 2013 11:32 AM

Spoiled??? Oh yeah we are rolling in dough.... Bob you are just so jealous that your not only green - your vomiting it...

Craig    |    Dec 13, 2013 11:06 AM

I hear that some company wants to hire all A.E. 1181 drivers. It would be for a WAAAAA-mbulence company. Stop your crying, spoiled babies.

Bob A Booey    |    Dec 13, 2013 09:10 AM

In 29 years I've been through 3 Bankruptcies with this company and you mean to tell me it was the fault of the workers every time? 3 bankruptcies equals mismanagement every time. The money that they did make definitely did not go where it was supposed to go. filthy horrible yards, old busses that breakdown. Overtime if they paid you was after 101/2 hours, NO SICK DAYS, I guarantee that every driver went in with 102 degree fevers at one point or another. the only reason why we stay is that hourly pay was good because of our union. If these companies start paying shit wages, there's going to be a big turn around and every few months they'll be a different driver on each route, something the parents would not like.

joe    |    Dec 13, 2013 07:40 AM

AE went out of business a long time ago just that no one told them. This is the most slipshod company ever run. No respect for the workers, busses that breakdown constantly. Don't have a part for a bus? just cannibalize another bus. Shuttling shape matrons from Staten Island to the Bronx to work and no way for them to get back. It was just a matter of time before they went out. An ex cop general manager who would walk around with his gun like he had something to prove. And of course the big guy who illegally took money and food out of our mouths and didn't give a damn for the workers who made him rich

Joe    |    Dec 12, 2013 04:58 PM

Its a dam shame that working people don't stick together, enabling cooperate America to remain in their lavish life style while we at Atlantic struggle to keep food on our tables and pay our mortgages ! What do you anti union people think we make .... We work 40 weeks a year ... What we make has to carry us thought the year ... Now factor in our salaries! We worked for greedy people who live like you and me never will! And they wanna cut our pay our benifits!! I challenge any of you to come her NYC do a route then dam make your comments.... I'm embarrassed for all of you ... Hide your names on your posts because you people HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON HERE! .. You should be ashamed to put your name on your posts! Disgracefull... Get a dam back bone and speak up!

Maria Gentile    |    Dec 12, 2013 04:33 PM

It's pathetic to hear people talk like they know all the facts about our jobs and the situation at hand when they don't have a clue of the details of the matter... By their comments it's obvious they did NOT read the contract offered! They have NOT researched the pressing issues and yet they fill their mouths with assumptions of why and how... Remember what they say when you "Ass-u-me"... Before commenting have your facts straight as to why AE workers were FORCED by a greedy & plotting company to vote NO... Don't expect a New Yorker to throw himself under a bus to save your butt when you can't fight for your own job and rights... Get a back bone and defend what you know is right... We knew that regardless what we voted AE was going out and they were just plotting to stripe us of what a COURT determined was rightfully owed to us... That joke of a contract was just about getting us to sign away what they STOLE from us and that way it would make it much easier for them to liquidate/sell off the company,.. By the way, at the auction yesterday this very issue was a sticking point in the bids which proves AE's intention was exactly that! Real nice- they were going to stripe us of our livelihoods - REGARDLESS, and your telling us that we should have just signed the fitted line and gone quietly... Really?! Maybe that's how they do it in your town but New Yorkers don't go down without a fight... So please... If you don't have your facts straight keep your ignorant comments to yourself..,

Sammy    |    Dec 12, 2013 10:31 AM

I have no sympathy for these drivers in New York who are just so greedy that they dont care about the folks who are being affected by their decision to try and gough the company. 1. The company is not here to make you rich or make all your wildest dreams come true. 2. School busing is not a job you get rich off and is waht and has always been a job for retirees, wifes who have husbands who work or people who just love the job. I worked for AE and drove my route with noproblems enjoyed my job and survived and lived a good life Iin New York. But I drove in Long Island so I did not make what the drivers in the city made and I still survived. Unions are the devil and all they do is take your money. Ask the union are they going to give you back the money you have put in all these years zo you can survive. At the end of the day you guys in New York have made more then most School Bus Drivers and your arrogant ways have not got you without a job time to go look in the mirror and wonder what you did wrong and how you have caused so many otbers to be in a bad way over the holidays. Thank you you did a great job of being pain in the butts.

Christopher    |    Dec 12, 2013 09:43 AM

I work for AE of New England, I do a Metco Run out of Boston, I am at work at 5:15am, leave the yard at 5:30am, constantly in traffic , I get done at night at 6:00pm. I work Monday-Friday 81/2 hrs a day. Plus I work on as many Saturday & Sunday as possible, I love what I do. I care about the children I drive. I love working for AE. Stop complaining especially if you love what you do & care about the children you drive. You in New York are messing this up for everyone else. All I have to say to you thanks for being selfish & thinking only about yourselves. Other companies only pay their drivers around $15.00-18.00 per hr. Just saying...

K. Fisher    |    Dec 11, 2013 07:27 PM

It's a dam shame that the unions can't get there concerns regulated into making a deal that would keep thousands of employees at work while a future determination could be worked on. Instead their stubborn lack of giving in will cause many families to have to worry about how to live in these trying times. Make a deal and keep drivers at work and the company going.

Robert W. Fisher    |    Dec 11, 2013 06:44 PM

At least the union stewards will get paid. They sure worked for the drivers. Right out of a job way to go.

Julie    |    Dec 11, 2013 05:27 PM

Voted themselves right out of a job.

scott    |    Dec 11, 2013 02:33 PM

The recent Atlantic Express decision to file for bankruptcy in NYC and vicinity sounds familiar. I drive for a company north of Toronto, Ontario in a suburb area of that big community. The new company getting NYC work will claim to have rescued the old companies jobs and workers but obviously will pay a lot less in salary and benefits. Here in Canada our current national government is anti-union and the provincial politicians are not any better. If you want trained monkeys driving the school buses just pay them peanuts.

BeeBopEh    |    Dec 11, 2013 02:32 PM

I don't know the details of the situation but it seems to me that both parties loss focus on what they are there to do and that's help educate children. It's sad because there appears to be no winners just losers.

barry    |    Dec 11, 2013 02:21 PM

I want to know what the average wages were for AE....

Teresa    |    Dec 11, 2013 01:56 PM

Sorry! for all that is involve in this mess: but not for Union!

Jackie    |    Dec 11, 2013 01:44 PM


rick meli ATU DRIVER    |    Dec 11, 2013 11:06 AM

now don't criticize us unless you walk a mile in my shoes or drive 100 miles a my place.get up at 5 a.m. Inspect your in heavy traffic ..after all this is New York

junior    |    Dec 11, 2013 10:26 AM

why did nobody mentioned the fact that Atlantic Express stole our money and our vacation checks...they cut our pay illegally..and by court order was supposed to give it back.....not included in our contract negotiations.we would have accepted the contract.a contract with nothing in it for the workers but still acceptable to the workers

junior    |    Dec 11, 2013 10:21 AM

Its obvious that those commenting so negatively and hoping us the worst are either people which probably wanted our jobs and weren't qualified enough to get it and of course now they feel good to think that this industry will be affected in a way that will make them feel better about their unskilled abilities and or lack of prospects in their own life... Or on the other hand they may be owners of companies that just want to reap all the profits and step over the workers that contributed to building them into the successful companies yet then they blame the workers for their own mismanagement. These are the type of people that would love to see every worker only make a minimum wage salary and follow orders without opening their mouths to claim their rights... They are the type of people that LOVE "right to work states", where all the protections and rights only favor the "employer"... Gimme a break.. The days of slavery are over-- oh yeah they probably miss those days too....

Sammy    |    Dec 11, 2013 07:56 AM

In the real world of Public School Transportation, we have to live with in a budget. Our Driver's make the national average, most are part-time with no benefit. If they want benefits and more pay they work has Teacher Aids, or run special routes. We cannot by law live above our means, maybe it's time the rest of the World took a look at being responsible, Companies, Unions and Workers. Do You know how our Drivers, Staff,and us Transportation Directors keep our Jobs, by doing them the Best we can and putting the service to the Students first.

RD    |    Dec 11, 2013 05:50 AM

Congratulations drivers of 1181. You have finally choked the golden goose to death. After 30 years of having to endure the EPP clause, you may now have to accept getting paid for only the hours that you work. What a novel concept. Point your crooked fingers at managment - the educated people in the industry know the facts. Worst of luck to you all!

Bob A Booey    |    Dec 11, 2013 04:17 AM

Hello, Is there anyone out there who knows if Atlantic Express is going to start selling off contracts? If so, is there any place online one could view, and possibly bid on the contracts?

Brian    |    Dec 10, 2013 09:01 PM

Ya'll can point fingers all you want. FACT of the matter is. YOU voted no. Company said bye. Wait till First Student picks it up and then you'll see how good you DID have it. I know quite a few Unionized First Student Bus Drivers and they LUCKY to walk away with $400-$500 every 2 weeks GROSS pay. Either way, YOU said no. YOU.

Steven Manson    |    Dec 10, 2013 09:00 PM

All of the above commentators are obviously employees. But if you look at it from a employers outlook,it becomes a whole different story. Your own union made this happen. No one in this industry in America made anywhere near the salary the 1181 drivers made +++ benefits++overtime++vacation. Most school bus drivers (this info can be found in School Bus Fleet magazine,or STN Student Transportation News, surveys) in America average between $ 13- $ 21 per hour. AND they are not guaranteed a 40 hour work week. The average school bus driver makes between $ 300- $550 per week. NO BENEFITS,NO VACATION, PENSION FUND. NO MEDICAL. The cost of a senior driver and matron per day cost AE about $ 600. add on buying the buses,and the INTEREST RATE on the notes, fuel,insurance,taxes,maintenance,rent/mortgage,water and sewer,telephone,UTILITY TAXES 1.17% of GROSS INCOME (do any of the employees even know know what utility taxes are?)of course not,why should you? you all just run your mouths off without even having an inkling of knowledge,of what it takes to run a business,(especially in NYC) You only look at it from your own interests.without considering the tiny profit margin that is made with these numbers. You dont have to be an Einstein,or a rocket scientist to figure out a $ 842 per day bid,cant support this lavish lifestyle. But dont take my word for it,just go into the real world,and apply to any company,and see what the REAL world salaries are. Try,First Student,STA,Durham,Laidlaw,etc. boy are you people in for a surprise. you'll get crap, at best you'll make $ 500 a week,oh yeah, I almost forgot,you cant just do a split run,AM-PM ( and go home to sleep) and walk away with the $ 500 no sir, you gotta put in your 40 or hours for the $500 salary. I am not in any way sticking up for AE,but just trying to make a point. To all the uninformed,unprofessional,and childish comments,made here. And if you disagree with my comments,just mention these numbers to your accountant,and s

joey    |    Dec 10, 2013 08:41 PM

Bad management and unions are parasites for any company. Unions have out lived their usefulness and now they are a hindrance to a companies well being, for the most part. Bad management is the fault of the owner(s), board of directors or whatever system of ownershup is used, for allowing inept idiot(s) to run a company. And lastly the employees, they have fault in this as well, they put the nail on the coffin. Being misled by the union is a common practice, they make their members think they're entitled to overly generous benefits instead of the industry norm. well that's my $.02 it not that in depth as I like but more generalized.

Yella Bus Driver    |    Dec 10, 2013 07:57 PM

It can't be said any better than Sammy said. Mismanagement is the number 1 killer of this company. How else can you explain the biggest company in the city claiming to lose money, when other reputable companies made their employees fair contract offers. Atlantic Express has no other excuse for its so called financial woes. Our Billionaire mayor opened the door, and Atlantic didn't waste any time RUNNING through it, trampling their employees in the process. Any corporation with their vast resources has to have a TEAM of very creative accountants able to make it's financial numbers appear to be anything they want it to appear to be. Too bad the only ones being hurt by this are the hard working, loyal employees.

Michael    |    Dec 10, 2013 06:16 PM

The mayor soooo worried about giving money to the school system by saving money by taking EPP out of our contracts and making runs open bids? Well what about our children we need to support and provide a roof over their heads. How do you take money away from hard working people who are responsible and do their jobs well? Let's hope New mayor steps up to the plate and helps us.

Patricia    |    Dec 10, 2013 05:48 PM

Joe and Tyrone .. do you even know what your talking about! I am in this industry and a driver 36 years and everything we have ever worked for would have been gone in one contract! We are paid for 39 dam weeks! What do you think we make ! You have no idea about what went on in AE ... We make what use to be a modest salary but with the cost of living in NY we can't afford a 2 dollar pay cut ! Come drive a bus in the congestion of NY and then tell me I make too much money! Get your facts straight before you comment ... Your only making yourself look ignorant! You should be so lucky to have our union represent your best interest!

Maria Gentile    |    Dec 10, 2013 04:59 PM

Years and years of corruption and mismanagement led to Atlantis demise!!!

Jerry    |    Dec 10, 2013 04:16 PM

If you didn't see the offered contract and know the games this company had been playing with the workers then you have no business in commenting negatively towards the workers... First of all AE offered a one sided contract with zero room for compromise, if it were only a pay deduction that would have been tolerable but unfortunately this company wanted all and more-- they were not only slashes wages, benefits, vacation etc... But they even stipulated in this offered contract that by signing it the workers would be releasing the company of all liability of the back paid they are owed and which a court recently ordered the company to repay the workers... And the fact that the company didn't come back with a counter offer only confirm what everyone suspected, that the company was going to go out of business REGARDLESS but they wanted the workers to sign this contract so it would make it easier for them to liquidate their assets and make it more desirable for other companies to bid on their routes at auction without the responsibility of having to reimburse this debt... So get informed and then comment... Ignorance is NOT bliss... You really think that it was the desire of the workers to close down this company with no reason when they have their own families to feed?! If the majority didn't accept this contract it's because they knew it was a lost case any way they voted...

Sammy    |    Dec 10, 2013 03:04 PM

Joe is correct. Sucks for those who bought the onion's BS. You get what you voted for, now you'all get to have 99 weeks of paid vacation [thanks to Obama and the Democrats]. That's what sucks for the rest of us, while we keep the wheels on the bus going round and round....

Tyrone    |    Dec 10, 2013 01:42 PM

6-8%?? no, driver and monitor labor is more like 50% in a business like this. just wait until those drivers have to be employed by a giant like FS. They'll be begging to re-negotiate and it'll be too late...

joe    |    Dec 10, 2013 01:15 PM

They never calculated in poor people not allowing them to walk all over them- they forgot that the days of slavery are over. Not only did they want to step all over the workers but they even till this moment want to make it look like this is the fault of the workers and labor costs when it's all about MISMANAGEMENT and UNION BUSTING! This is all the fault of AE and Bloomberg... So let's get the story straight!

Joan    |    Dec 09, 2013 12:36 PM

$251million in debt - they owe many companies, not to mention the money they stole from employees which a court ruled they must pay back-- NO OTHER WORD FOR THAT BUT POOR MANAGEMENT... Atlantic express can try to sugar coat it l they want but you can't hide the obvious--- to make matters worse Bloomberg came after the working class and ended up affecting one of his rich friends (the stock company that owns AE)... He put that final bullet in them and sadly all the hard working responsible people have to be affected too...

Sammy    |    Dec 09, 2013 12:31 PM

Labour represents about 6-8% of a company's payables..........stop blaming the workers for a mismanaged company.

Gary    |    Dec 08, 2013 12:24 AM

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