School Bus Strike in East Providence & Barrington is Averted
Tentative Deal Reached
After authorizing the union to go on strike last week if necessary and picketing a meeting of the East Providence School Committee, Ocean State Transit and Local 251 Teamsters have agreed tentatively to sign a new contract and avoid a bus strike effecting East Providence and Barrington schools. The contract includes drivers, aides and monitors. Over 100 East Providence drivers and some 96 monitors and aides had recently voted to join the union. Barrington bus employees are currently organizing with the same union.
According to Local 251 a tentative agreement was reached between Teamsters Local 251 and Ocean State Transit, a subsidiary of Student Transportation of America (STA). “Our coworkers will be very happy with this tentative agreement,” said Ocean State Transit Bus Driver Charlene Gomes. They were willing to strike to get a fair deal and the company knew it.”
“Our rank-and-file committee members were invaluable in these negotiations; they knew the business inside and out and were able to prioritize the needs of the workers,” said Nick Williams, Local 251 Business Agent.
A date will be set soon for a ratification vote. “We believe this tentative agreement recognizes the commitment the workers have to safely transporting our children every day,” said Local 251 Principal Officer Matthew Taibi. “While we have a few minor details to work out, we anticipate that the workers will ratify this recommended tentative agreement, averting a strike. We appreciate the community support. We believe it was a big reason we were finally able to break through the last remaining issues and get a deal,” Taibi added.
Local employees were upset that counterparts in other communities may have been receiving higher salaries, etc.
The tentative deal has been confirmed by the bus company who said in a statement that “We look forward to a vote by Local 251 drivers and monitors, as we continue to offer safe and reliable service to the children and families of East Providence Schools.”