Members at First Student Providence Win Big in New Contract

Members at First Student Providence united, stuck together for months, reached out to the public, and prepared to go on strike to win a stronger contract.

The unity and pressure paid off.

Members have won a trend-setting contract that raises top pay to $37/hour by June 2026. The new four-year agreement also raises starting pay by more than $4 to $24/hour and guarantees members 180 paid work-days a year.

“We’re out on those roads every day and people from Rhode Island, you know what it’s like, and with the kids and we’re just glad. We’re glad. Everybody’s happy,” driver Chuck Hanrahan said.

“First Student drivers are invested invested in these jobs to support their families. These aren’t disposable, throwaway jobs. These workers are taxpayers, they’re parents, they’re members of the community and they deserve the best,” said Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi.

Watch the news item on the new contract here.

Northeast Transportation Services Teamsters Vote Overwhelmingly To Ratify a New Contract

After a courageous strike from June 22, 2022 to January 17, 2023, Local 251 members approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the contractor for DHL Express in Pawtucket, RI.

Notable gains for the workers include:

  • Affordable Teamster healthcare, a key demand of the workers
  • Strong wage improvements
  • More holidays
  • More paid time off
  • Stronger overtime language
  • Strengthened job protections
  • The gains made in this contract should set the tone for workers looking for better conditions in the contractor-model of the growing logistics industry. Since organizing in 2017, the group has made incredible gains over two lengthy strikes.

    The Company had sent WARN notices to workers and the Union signaling that they are closing operations March 25th. The Union demanded to bargain over those effects, if the Company actually does close.

    Teamsters Local 251 leadership tips their hats to these courageous workers in demanding better working conditions and their willingness to fight for it.

    Click here to watch a video on the background to the strike and the issues members’ were fighting to improve.

    2022 Local Officer & Agent Election Results

    On Saturday September 17, 2022, Teamsters Local 251 held a dually noticed special meeting for the purposes of nominations of Officers & Agents for the term of January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025. Election consultant Jody Clouse of Merriman River Group, hired by Local 251 to be an independent election administrator, conducted the nominations for Secretary-Treasurer, President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, 3 Trustees and 5 Business Agents. All candidates properly nominated, seconded and accepted were elected by acclamation.

    For the term of January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025, the Executive Board and elected Business Agents of Teamsters Local 251 will be:

    Secretary-Treasurer: Matthew Taibi
    President: Paul Santos
    Vice President: Decio Goulart
    Recording Secretary: Gary DaSilva
    Trustee: Colleen Reid
    Trustee: Brian Palmer
    Trustee: Robert Medeiros

    Business Agent: Paul Santos
    Business Agent: Matthew Maini
    Business Agent: Thomas Salvatore
    Business Agent: Antonio Suazo
    Business Agent: Brooke Reeves

    Rhode Island Hospital Scholarship Application

    Local 251 is awarding ten $3,500 college scholarships to children of Rhode Island Hospital Teamster employees. This benefit was negotiated in our union contract with Lifespan. A drawing will be held to determine the scholarship winners. Applicants must be the son or daughter of a Teamster member in good standing at Rhode Island Hospital to be eligible to apply.

    Applications should be returned to the Union Hall or submitted to a Liaison, Union Representative, or the RIH H.R. Department. Only one (1) application per student. Applications must be received by July 31.

    Click here to download a printable application form.

    Rhode Island School of Design Workers Vote Teamster Yes!

    Congratulations to the custodians, lead custodians, groundskeepers, caretakers, movers and President’s House facilities coordinators employed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that recently voted to join Teamsters Local 251. The vote was 52-4 in favor of the Teamsters. The employees worked very hard for this victory and had to fight off an intense anti-union campaign from RISD management.
    “We work hard and we feel nobody appreciates what we do. New management came in and didn’t treat us with any respect,” said Regina Santos, who helped lead the organizing effort. “We are demanding dignity and respect on the job, along with fair compensation for helping to keep the school running every day.”
    “I wanted to join the Teamsters for better wages, job security and to be treated fair and equal,” said David Oberlander, a custodian at RISD.
    “Workers approached us because of unfair treatment. The school takes advantage of them because of them because of the language barrier among them, assigning tasks usually performed by multiple workers,” said Mike Simone, Organizer for Teamsters Local 251. “Workers, regardless of whether they speak English, Spanish or Portuguese, deserve dignity, respect and a union contract.”
    “We are seeing an increase in worker demands for fair treatment that only a union contract can deliver,” said Matthew Taibi, Principal Officer for Teamsters Local 251. “We are excited to empower these workers to demand a fair contract from RISD.”

    Major Win for Rhode Island School Bus Workers

    Legislation Improves Environmental and Labor Protections for Industry

    Legislation protecting workers in the school bus industry pushed by Teamsters Local 251 and other unions (H6118A and S635A), passed the Rhode Island General Assembly overwhelmingly and was signed into law last Friday. Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi, who has been at the forefront of crafting legislation to improve workers’ lives in Rhode Island, was among the first to testify at a Senate hearing on S635A.

    “We are proud to have played a role in getting this bill passed into law,” said Taibi. “We are thankful for State Representative Gregg Amore and State Senator Val Lawson being the prime sponsors of this legislation, for the State House and State Senate leadership supporting this legislation, for the Governor signing the bill and for the hard work of Teamsters Legislative Director Paul MacDonald moving workers’ issues through the legislative process.”

    The pro-worker and pro-environmental provisions of the law will be considered model language for workers in the school bus industry across the country. The bill became law upon Governor McKee’s signature later this month.

    “This law has so many great provisions for workers in the school bus industry,” said Taibi.  “Top among them is prevailing wages for drivers, monitors and aides. This is frequently seen in construction, but has been lacking among student transportation companies. This means that school bus contractors that have traditionally hired inexperienced, low-paid workers can’t undercut responsible contractors that have seasoned, well-trained workers with low-ball bids. The safety of our school children hangs in the balance when contracts are awarded based solely on the lowest cost.”

    Some other major highlights of the legislation include a mandatory minimum of 180 paid days to match the school calendar, guaranteed due process for workers when schools or customers want to remove a school bus worker and preferences for contractors using electric school buses.

    “Due process to protect workers against false accusations is another important part of this law,” said Paul MacDonald, Local 251 Legislative Director. “We have had too many school bus workers disciplined over unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing. Recently one worker was accused of, and terminated for, carrying a knife. It turned out to be a nail file. All too often, there has been a difficult process for ensuring that the discipline fits the offense, if any. We believe in progressive and corrective discipline – not unjustified punishment – so that workers do the best possible job for our kids and our communities.”

    “We pushed so hard for workers to be paid for the 180 mandated school days because if taxpayers are paying for 180 days of transportation, revenue contracts should reflect this and the workers should be paid for them as well,” said Brooke Reeves, Local 251 Assistant Business Agent. “School bus workers are already in high demand. They work split shifts and have planned layoffs throughout the year, with compensation that is average at best. Having additional layoff days with reduced earnings just pushes workers out of the industry, which hurts our kids and our communities.”

    “We look forward to continuing to improve the lives of school bus workers through the good contracts we negotiate and passing legislation like this,” said Taibi.

    Teamsters Local 251 represents over 6,300 workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, including approximately 1,000 school bus workers in Rhode Island.

    Teamster Convention—Agenda & How to Watch

    The 30th International Teamster Convention will take place Tuesday, June 22 through Thursday, June 24 and is scheduled to run from 12:00 pm—6:00 pm Eastern Time each day.

    Click here to download the agenda for the Convention.

    How to Watch: Members—who are not delegates or alternate delegates—and retirees will be able to observe the Convention at this web portal. It will be activated at the start of the Convention on June 22, and no password will be needed.

    The convention app can also be downloaded through Apple or Android for phones or tablets by searching “Teamsters Union.” The Convention website will be

    Certified delegates and alternate delegates must register to view and participate in the Convention via a special Convention Viewing Platform.