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HomeIndustry ReleasesRhode Island School Bus Drivers and Monitors Join Teamsters Local

Rhode Island School Bus Drivers and Monitors Join Teamsters Local

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A group of 95 school bus drivers and monitors in East Providence have voted in favor of having Teamsters Local 251 represent them in contract negotiations with Ocean State Transit, it was announced today. The group will join 105 bus drivers who are currently in contract negotiations who are already represented by Teamsters Local 251.

“Recently Ocean State Transit management has made decisions that affect drivers, monitors, aides and students in a very negative way,” said Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 251. “This is what initially drove these workers to seek representation with us. They are tired of the broken promises made to them. A Teamster contract will bring stability, respect and a voice on the job into the everyday lives of these men and women.“

Taibi observed that “If the company wants to address the current shortage and keep the quality people currently on staff, it must listen to the needs of its workers. The monitors’ and aides’ votes show the company still doesn’t treat its workers fairly and hasn’t learned this lesson since the drivers voted for the Teamsters back in May. In fact, negotiations for the drivers have slowed down and now require mediation. This doesn’t project the image of an employer that is concerned about anything other than the bottom line.”

He concluded that, “Parents of East Providence students should expect worthwhile investments in their community. Safe, dependable, daily transportation of children by qualified, caring and knowledgeable workers must be high on that list of investments.”

Karen Lee Hyman, an Ocean State Transit Monitor, added that “We are entrusted with the daily transportation of our communities’ most valuable assets,” She noted, “We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by our employer.”

“We decided to join the union after we saw how hard Local 251 was fighting for the drivers in contract negotiations,” said Ann Caravan, also an Ocean State Transit Monitor. “By joining together with the drivers, we have doubled our strength in numbers. We hope Ocean State Transit will begin to respect us for our hard work.”

Ocean State Transit is an affiliate of transportation giant Student Transportation International (STI). In 2018, STI ranked second-highest in the country, with approximately 1.2 million students transported.

Negotiations for the monitors and aides will begin soon after the vote is certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

Teamsters Local 251 represents workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island. https://teamsterslocal251.org

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