School bus drivers hold ‘informational picket’

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 11/23/21

A local school bus driver union is hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon, as they conducted “Just Practicing informational picketing” on Nov. 22.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?

Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.

School bus drivers hold ‘informational picket’


Bristol Warren is one of three Rhode Island communities in which school bus drivers recently voted to authorize a strike. The other two are Scituate and Pawtucket. Drivers for First Student, represented by Teamsters Local 251, have been working without a contract for over a year, in extraordinary circumstances.

“These drivers put their lives on the line” working through the pandemic, said Nick Williams, business agent for Teamsters local 251. According to Williams, instead of a retroactive raise, First Student offered drivers a $150 raise, roughly 10 percent of what they anticipated.

“School bus workers have been diligently transporting our most precious cargo, our children, and have been very patient as negotiations have been ongoing for well over a year,” said Teamsters 251 spokesman Matthew Taibi in a statement. “These essential workers haven't received a raise during the height of the pandemic, as the industry has seen a shortage of workers.”

Making conditions worse for drivers during the pandemic was the fact that closures and virtual learning meant that drivers were routinely and unpredictably left without work.

“First Student is in active discussions with the regional leadership of the Teamsters and are hopeful that fair and equitable agreements which address each open issue can be reached soon,” said Frank McMahon, spokesman for First Student. “First Student will continue to negotiate until final resolutions are reached. In the meantime, we remain committed to providing the best transportation service possible to the families we serve.”

The union is hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon, as they conducted “Just Practicing informational picketing” at the Warren First location on Monday, Nov. 22.

“The workers love working with their students and hope the company doesn't force them to strike for a fair contract,” said Taibi.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at