N. Kingstown schools to reopen after strike

By Abbey Niezgoda

aniezgoda@abc6.com

North Kingstown school employees will go back to work after having been in court. The labor dispute is not over, but all sides have agreed, the kids should not be stuck in the middle.  

150 workers, including janitors, secretaries and teaching assistants, all went on strike because the school department decided to outsource some custodial work. They could not agree on a contract Monday night, so the employees decided not to show up, canceling the first day of school.

“I'm sad I'm not there today because I was really looking forward to class,” Isabella Montini, a third grader said. “And one of my best friends is in my class.”

Parents were frustrated the news of the closure traveled slower than the school busses.

“They should have notified the busses before they did this morning,” Kathy Matterson said. “The kids were already on the bus at the school.”

The issue was taken to the school house to the courthouse in a matter of hours, where both parties agreed, that as they work on a contract, the union employees will go back to work. Superintendent Phil Auger is still making his case for the outsourced work.

“We have a lot of school buildings and we need them clean, but I think we have a responsibility to do it as inexpensively as possible,” Auger said.

However, regardless of what the adults decide, the kids will not be the ones having to pay the price. School will be in session on Wednesday.