Teamsters at RISD plan open-ended strike amid fight for first contract

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –Teamsters Local 251 announced Sunday, workers from Rhode Island School of Design will begin an open-ended strike starting April 3.

Union members said the strike is in response to RISD’s failure to negotiate with its employees.

The proposed strike comes less than two weeks after RISD employees held a one-day unfair labor practice strike.

Teamsters Local 251 said they have since filed ULP charges against RISD for failing to pay a general wage increase and changing starting rates for employees without giving them notice or a chance to bargain.

The group has worked for the last several months to secure their first contract but has been unsuccessful.

The strike is set to begin at 4 a.m. on Monday April 3. The end date has yet to be determined.

In a release, RISD said they’ve been working with staff members since June 2022 to come to an agreement that provides wage increases while maintaining benefits.

“Although negotiations were productive at first, union leaders have been unwilling to work productively with us since we began discussing economic issues in October,” the release stated.

“They have continued to demand benefits and wage increases that go well beyond what RISD considers fiscally responsible or that would allow us to maintain equity across the college,” it concluded.

RISD officials said the school respects the union’s right to strike but they said it will not resolve the matter.

They further voiced concern about the accuracy of the information that union leaders are providing their team members regarding their last proposed offer.

The school said their previous offer is still on the table, and the burden to engage in discussions about wages and benefits is on the union.

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island