No change apparent following latest local school bus driver contract talks

Union representative says little about recent negotiating session

By Mike Rego
Posted 1/17/20

EAST BAY — “No news is good news” is hopefully the axiom to be taken by the lack of definitive words from the union representing school bus drivers in East Providence, Barrington …

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No change apparent following latest local school bus driver contract talks

Union representative says little about recent negotiating session

Posted

EAST BAY — “No news is good news” is hopefully the axiom to be taken by the lack of definitive words from the union representing school bus drivers in East Providence, Barrington and for charter schools currently in contract discussions with Student Transportation of America/Ocean State Transportation.

The sides, Teamsters Local 251 and STA/OST, met for what was deemed prior to is as a lengthy negotiating session Thursday afternoon, Jan. 16.

Reached for an update on the matter the following day, Matthew Taibi, Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer for Teamsters Local 251, said there was “nothing to comment on at this point.”

It was announced earlier in the week the 200 school bus drivers, monitors and aides for East Providence and Barrington had authorized representatives at Teamsters Local 251 to call a strike at any time. Negotiations for the drivers have been ongoing since May of 2019. The monitors and aides voted to join the Local 251 last December.

The union made a show of unity at the January 14 meeting of the East Providence School Committee, organizing outside City Hall before the event and attending the proceedings inside later.

Then, Nick Williams, Business Agent for Teamsters Local 251, told the committee a strike was not imminent, though he conceded talks between the sides had stalled in recent weeks. At that time, he said he was hopeful some movement would occur at the January 16 session.

According to the union, the gist of their concerns pertain to rate of wages as well as lack of health, vision, dental or retirement benefits currently included in members’ compensation from the company.

Editor's Note: Attempts by eastbayri.com staff to reach Mr. Williams for further comment as well as a representative to discuss the matter on behalf of STA/OST were not returned as Friday afternoon, Jan. 17.

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Jim McGaw

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.