First Student, Teamsters Local 251 come to contract agreement after 8 months

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Providence bus drivers finally have come to an agreement with First Student, avoiding a pending strike. 

Back in August of 2022, the fight began for better wages and improved benefits. After almost 8 months, Providence bus drivers have a new contract.

“I love working with the kids so I’m just here to support my fellow workers,” a bus driver told ABC 6 News.

This decision helped avoid a strike that would have started Wednesday morning leaving hundreds of students without a ride to school.

“Nobody likes that, nobody wants to go on strike but yeah, you know, we had the kids in mind first of all,” Chuck Hanraham, a school bus driver in Providence said.

This new deal improves health benefits and raises wages to up to $37 dollars an hour by June of 2026.

“This contract makes school bus drivers in Providence I would say the highest paid in the region by the end of the contract,” Matt Taibi, who leads Local 251 in Providence said.

First Student released a statement Tuesday night saying, “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’re out on those roads every day and you people are from Rhode Island, you now what its like, and we’re just with the kids and were just glad, were glad, everyone’s happy,” Hanraham said.

“Ultimately when it comes to the parents and the community and the hardship, we’re glad that we were able to reach an agreement and not have to strike,” Taibi added.

Categories: News, Rhode Island