Hospital Teamsters Won Best Contract in Years

In 2019, more than 2,500 Teamsters who work at Rhode Island Hospital won their best contract in years with wage increases, a $15 minimum wage, Teamster health care, retirement security, and job security protections.

Members set these bargaining goals by speaking out at meetings and filling out contract surveys.

A Contract Action Team organized unity actions and members stood behind the elected Negotiating Committee to win contract improvements. Members approved the contract with a 97.5% yes vote.

“This is the best contract I’ve seen in my 25 years as a Rhode Island Hospital Teamster,” said Paul Santos, Local 251 President and an over 30-year veteran hospital employee.

“We’re very proud of the membership. You don’t win a contract like that without sticking together,” Secretary-Treasurer and principal officer Matt Taibi said.

Tentative Agreement Reached at STA/Ocean State Transit

A tentative agreement was reached between Teamsters Local 251 and Ocean State Transit, a subsidiary of Student Transportation of America (STA). A strike vote had been before the agreement was reached.

“Our coworkers will be very happy with this tentative agreement,” said Ocean State Transit Bus Driver Charlene Gomes. “They were willing to strike to get a fair deal and the company knew it.”

“Our rank-and-file committee members were invaluable in these negotiations; they knew the business inside and out and were able to prioritize the needs of the workers,” said Nick Williams, Local 251 Business Agent.

The group of 105 school bus drivers voted to join Local 251 in May 2019. Last month 95 monitors and aides also joined the union. A date will be set soon for a ratification vote.

“We believe this tentative agreement recognizes the commitment the workers have to safely transporting our children every day,” said Local 251 Principal Officer Matthew Taibi. “While we have a few minor details to work out, we anticipate that the workers will ratify this recommended tentative agreement, averting a strike. We appreciate the community support. We believe it was a big reason we were finally able to break through the last remaining issues and get a deal.

“We recently agreed on a new contract with STA/Ocean State in South Kingstown and we look forward to discussions for a new agreement in Coventry. We would like to thank the Teamsters Passenger Transportation Division for their support, especially from a national perspective. STA is the second largest school transportation company in the country, with contracts at many other Teamsters locals.”

Getting on the 9.5 List

Local 251 has given management the names of Package Car Drivers who want to be on the 9.5 list for the next five months. The new 9.5 list will take effect on January 15 and stay in effect through June 15.

If you want to get on the 9.5 list now, or in the future, it’s not too late.

All you have to do is fill out the 9.5 Add/Cut Form and have your shop steward turn it into management. You will be added to the 9.5 list for the following week.

Once you are on the 9.5 list, management should not dispatch you to work more than 9.5 hours three times in a work week.

If you work more than 9.5 hours on three days in a week, talk with your shop steward to file a grievance for triple time pay for all hours worked over 9.5 in a day and to have your dispatch adjusted if necessary.

Who is Eligible for the 9.5 List?

If there are any 22.4 drivers working in the center, then every Regular Package Car Driver is eligible to be on the 9.5 list.

If there are no 22.4 drivers working in the center, then Regular Package Car Drivers are eligible to get on the 9.5 list as long as: (1) the driver covers a route for a full week; (2) the driver bids or is assigned to cover a route for a full week but is prevented from completing that bid or assignment due to reassignment by management; or (3) the driver has four years of seniority as a full-time package driver.

22.4 Drivers are not eligible for the 9.5 list.

New Benefit Improvements

Effective January 1, 2020, members who participate in 251 Health Services through their contract have new and improved health benefits.

Click here to read the list of improved benefits.

These new benefits reflect the Trustees efforts to add cost-conscious benefit improvements whenever possible.

The Trustees of the Local 251 Health Services & Insurance Plan work to ensure our hard-working members and your families are getting the best benefits possible. We’re constantly working to improve and enhance our benefit offerings—and in turn help improve your quality of life.

2019 Local 251 Election Results

Teamsters Local 251 completed our Local Election of Officers & Agents at the nomination meeting on September 14, 2019, overseen by an independent election service.

Congratulations to the officers and agents elected, and thanks to all the members who attended the nomination meeting.

The following candidates were elected for a term from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022:

Secretary Treasurer: Matthew Taibi
President: Paul Santos
Vice President: Antonio Suazo
Recording Secretary: Brooke Reeves
Trustee: Michael Simone
Trustee: Carl Chicoine
Trustee: Decio Goulart
Business Agent: Paul Santos
Business Agent: Matthew Maini
Business Agent: Bob Sayer
Business Agent: Thomas Salvatore
Business Agent: David Robbins

Notice Of Nomination Meeting And Election Of Officers

A Special Membership Meeting of Local 251 will be held for the sole purpose of nominating candidates for the Offices of Secretary-Treasurer, President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, three (3) Trustees and five (5) Business Agents of Local 251, IBT.

The terms of office for these officers will begin on January 1, 2020 and end on December 31, 2022. Merriman River Group, an independent election management firm, will conduct the nomination meeting and subsequent election.

The nomination meeting will be held on:

Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:00 a.m.
Local 251 • 121 Brightridge Avenue • East Providence, RI 02914

Members in good standing are welcome to attend the meeting. Respectful and courteous behavior is asked of all participants. Disrespectful behavior towards a candidate or candidates will not be tolerated.

Teamsters Ratify New Contract at Rhode Island Hospital

Contract Provides Wage Increases, Quality Health Insurance and Retirement Options

The more than 2,500 Local 251 Teamsters who work at Rhode Island Hospital ratified a new five-year agreement yesterday by a 97.5 percent vote.

“The 2,500 members at Rhode Island Hospital should be proud. It was their solidarity that led to this agreement,” said Matt Taibi, Teamsters Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer. “This contract wasn’t won at the table; it was earned through months of organizing by our members. They stood strong in the face of the company and achieved a contract they deserve.”

The bargaining unit includes nonclinical and clinical support and skilled maintenance workers.

After months of member to member organizing and surveying the needs of the members, the union negotiating committee set out to satisfy key demands of the workers. This contract addresses the important issues of fair wage increases, a $15 minimum wage, Teamster health care benefits, retirement security, quality jobs that support families and job security. Highlights of the contract include:

  • Three percent raises in each year of the contract;
  • Retirement choice between the Lifespan Core plan or matching contributions to a 401(k) up to six percent;
  • Strong improvements to pay differentials (on-call pay; weekend differential; evening differential; and night differential);
  • Inclusion into the Teamsters 251 Health Services Plan;
  • Extended “No Layoff” protections; and
  • A mechanism for creation of more permanent positions.

Located just south of downtown Providence, Rhode Island Hospital’s main campus occupies more than five blocks. Additionally, the Teamsters represent workers at the hospital’s numerous satellite buildings throughout the state of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

Voting took place throughout the day at the local union’s hall.

“This is the best contract I’ve seen in my 25 years as a Rhode Island Hospital Teamster,” said Paul Santos, Local 251 President and an over 30-year veteran hospital employee. “We should be proud of the entire negotiating team. They stuck through months of hard bargaining, but ultimately it was the strength of the membership that made this victory possible.”

RIH Teamsters Say Yes to New Contract

Local 251 members voted to approve their new five-year Teamster contract at Rhode Island Hospital with an overwhelming Yes vote of 97.5%.

Congratulations to members for sticking together and winning three percent annual wage increases, a $15 minimum wage for every Teamster by the end of the contract, Teamster healthcare for every benefit-eligible employee, and other improvements.

Read Contract Highlights.

Read a Two-Page Summary of Key Contract Changes.

Read every change in the contract. (12 pages).


Rest In Peace – Dennis Lavallee

Dennis was a proud second generation member of Teamsters Local 251. For 25 years, he worked as a driver at McLaughlin & Moran where his peers elected him union steward.

In 2015, Local 251 hired Dennis to run its Driving School. As the lead instructor, Dennis trained dozens of truck drivers helping them expand their skills and career horizons. He was elected Local 251 Trustee in 2016. He passionately served the membership as Assistant Business Agent for the Local 251 for the last two years.

Although Dennis was wildly successful in all things he did, one thing he never won any awards for was his ability to get anyone he represented out of a jam. He was passionate, smart and fought until the end. He was always one step ahead of everyone else. Dennis had an innate ability to make people understand his point of view. If you were ever in a situation and needed help, there was no one better to represent you then Dennis Lavallee.

Dennis also worked diligently as a Local 251 Charity Fund Trustee, helping on events that benefited children of Teamsters and those in need in the community. In 2017 Dennis (along with two co-workers) volunteered five days of his personal time to drive a Teamster semi filled with donations to Houston’s victims of Hurricane Harvey. Dennis twice ran for Rhode Island State Senate falling less than 200 votes short in his second attempt. As evidence of his grit and determination, he was mulling a third run.

Throughout his career, Dennis fulfilled his dream of helping Teamsters, fellow workers and his community. Local 251 staff and members will miss his strong work ethic, vibrant personality and sharp wit.

View Obituary