Minimum Standards for Essential Workers are Necessary in Providing Reliable Student Transportation in Rhode Island

Responsible Student Transportation Contracting with Cities, Towns and the State is Needed to Level the Playing Field, addressed in S635 & H6118

Although student transportation is a necessity, it is often an afterthought and very much taken for granted. Communities and the State of Rhode Island need a comprehensive approach in vendor bidding and worker standards.

There continues to be a statewide shortage of qualified school bus workers. Part-time jobs with no benefits are not the answer. Most school bus workers in our communities are represented by a union. Qualified workers have increasingly moved on from school bus employment recently, and attracting new workers has been a challenge for some time. The recent increase in unionization by workers in the industry, notably East Providence, Barrington, Cumberland, Smithfield and Scituate; shows the desire for a more stable model here in Rhode Island.

An approach providing relief for contractors on worker training, while maintaining minimum standards in employment, is necessary to stabilize this essential industry. Companies bidding into our state and communities must respect the collective bargaining rights of workers. School districts must also respect the due process rights of school bus workers in disciplinary matters.

H6118 is up for a hearing on Wednesday April 7 before the House Education Committee. Committee member Rep. Amore is the main sponsor, and Committee Chairman Rep. McNamara is a co-sponsor. Both should be applauded for their efforts. Please support this legislation by emailing the Education Committee with positive comments.

Written testimony is strongly encouraged and may be submitted via

Indicate your name, H6118, and “For” at top of message. Please send your comment by 11am Wednesday April 7.

Teamsters Local 251 represents school bus workers in Providence, Pawtucket, East Providence, Barrington, Bristol-Warren, Portsmouth, Coventry, South Kingstown, Smithfield, and Scituate.

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