Approximately 215 school bus drivers, monitors and aides voted overwhelmingly over the weekend to ratify their first contract with STA/Ocean State Transit and become members of Teamsters Local 251.
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.