Contract bus drivers reach agreement with First Student, strike averted

This is a file image of First Student Inc. buses. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Teamsters Local 251 bus drivers announced they accepted their employer’s new offer and will not strike after months of negotiations.

A release from Frank McMahon Tuesday night said they look forward to getting back to focusing on what they do best.

“Our priority has always been to reach an agreement that provides drivers with fair compensation and benefits while also guaranteeing safe and reliable transportation for Providence students. We are pleased to have reached a new contract agreement with Teamsters Local 251,” the release read.

The two sides had been negotiating a new contract for months. The threat of striking bus drivers had grown recently after a letter was sent to Providence Public school families last Friday about a looming bus strike if union drivers rejected a contract proposal.

On Saturday, the drivers overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract, but also held off on striking, instead setting a new deadline of Wednesday to come to an agreement without a labor dispute.

Union bus drivers Tuesday night reject another proposed contract but agreed to First Student’s counter-offer.

In a statement released to ABC6 News, Frank McMahon, a spokesperson for First Student provided the figures for the contract drivers rejected.

“First Student has presented a generous offer to Teamsters Local 251 that would pay drivers $35.30 per hour by June 2026 and $37 per hour by June 2027, doubles the 100% company-funded contribution into the Teamsters Savings and Investment Plan, and increases company coverage of health care costs to 92.5%,” the statement read.

The statement continued to say:

“First Student anticipates that this final offer will be received well by the members of Teamsters Local 251 and hopes that they will overwhelmingly vote to ratify a new contract at its 6 PM meeting rather than voting to strike.”

Tuesday afternoon, superintendent of Providence Public schools Javier Montanez sent a letter to families that warned of the potential strike and said if it does happen, the school district will not be able to offer students alternative ways to get to school, and that families would be forced to find their own ways to get their children to/from school.

In the letter to parents, Montanez also wrote that families that rely on First Student bus service would receive reimbursements for the service lost during a possible strike. Montanez also said children not able to get to school due to a strike would have their absences excused.

Categories: News