The illegal wildcat strike launched by Boston school bus drivers on Tuesday was a deeply irresponsible act, leaving the 33,000 children who rely on buses scrambling to find a way to school. Mayor Menino has rightly promised a tough response, potentially including firing drivers who participated. Hundreds of drivers failed to report for work, even though they have a labor contract in place until 2014. The action violated a basic tenet of collective bargaining; the drivers’ national union, the United Steelworkers of America, called for members to return to the job immediately.
However the strike ends — a federal judge declined Tuesday evening to order the bus drivers back to work — the local bus drivers’ union has clearly gone rogue. The action appears to have been engineered by a faction within the union. The local’s president, Dumond Louis, was booed down at the Readville bus yard when he urged members to go back to work; members also ignored a written order from the steelworkers’ union. At best, drivers are being led astray and into illegal activities by a few militant members spoiling for a fight. That’s still no excuse for leaving kids stranded at bus stops.