The president of the union representing New York City school bus drivers says a strike will start Wednesday morning.

Michael Cordiello of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union says more than 8,000 bus drivers and matrons will be taking part.

The strike will affect about 152,000 New York City public school students.

The city wants to cut transportation costs and has put bus contracts with private bus companies up for bid. The union representing the drivers is decrying the lack of employee protections, saying drivers could suddenly lose their jobs once their contracts are up in June.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city has contingency plans, including students getting free MetroCards for mass transit. Families of special needs students would be reimbursed for private transportation.