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Union of school bus personnel ratifies contract with STA/Ocean State Transit

Company provides transportation for East Providence, Barrington districts


EAST PROVIDENCE – Approximately 215 school bus drivers, monitors and aides recently voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first contract with STA/Ocean State Transit and become members of Teamsters Local 251, which represents employees who service the East Providence and Barrington districts.

The five-year deal calls for significant increases in pay, new dental and vision benefits, a retirement plan with company contributions, multiple bonuses, just-cause job protections, seniority rights and a grievance and arbitration procedure.

“None of the wages, benefits or working conditions were guaranteed or consistent with area standards in Rhode Island before the workers organized with the Teamsters,” said Nick Williams, Local 251 Business Agent. “In fact, we were able to regain benefits for paid days off which had been previously taken away by the employer.”

“We believe this new contract recognizes the commitment these workers have for safely transporting our children every day,” said Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 251. “These dedicated school bus workers sought Teamster representation eighteen months ago and saw it through to a Teamster contract. In these challenging times being a Teamster has more value than ever. We appreciate the community support. We would like to thank them as well as the Teamsters’ Passenger Transportation Division and Strategic Research and Campaigns Departments for their assistance in reaching this successful conclusion for our new members.”

“I’m pretty sure everyone breathed a sigh of relief after this vote,” said Charlene Gomes, a long-time driver at the location. “With all the uncertainty out there nowadays, we have everything guaranteed in a Teamster contract for the next five years.”

Student Transportation of America (STA) is the second largest school transportation company in the country. Teamsters Local 251 represents over 6,300 workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. For more information on Local 251, go to

In East Providence, at least, the move may be for naught. STA recently declined to accept the parameters of a previously agreed upon one-year extension of its current contract. The East Providence District administration recommended and the School Committee agreed to re-open the bidding process.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.