PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Workers at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are on strike Thursday morning over what they call unfair labor practices.

General Teamsters Local 251, the union which represents custodians, groundskeepers and movers, says RISD failed to give a general wage increase or allow the employees to bargain.

Regina Santos has been a custodian at RISD for the past 10 years and told 12 News that it is hard to survive on her salary.

“It’s very very hard, I live by myself, and I have to pay all my bills and I’m sick,” she said. “Every week I have to go to the doctor, make the payments like $25 and $15 it’s very very hard.”

Watch: Students join the strike, discuss their support of the workers (Story continues below.)

For the last several months, workers have been fighting to secure their first contract at the college and the union says negotiations have recently stalled.

The school reiterated Wednesday that it offered the best and final contract offer last month, saying the union didn’t respond to it by the March 1 deadline.

Matthew Taibi, the principal officer at Teamsters Local 251, says RISD has a lot of money but forgot about its staff members.

“They talk a lot of talk about equity and inclusion but their own staff are left out and we feel that is not fair, they deserve a living wage, they deserve a fair contract and good working conditions and the folks out here are demanding that,” he said.

RISD says the union demanded benefits and wage increases that go “well beyond what RISD considers fiscally responsible and deviates from RISD’s overall compensation philosophy, which seeks to maintain equity across the college.”

“We are committed to bringing this matter to a successful conclusion. For that to happen, union leaders need to negotiate in a meaningful way so that together we can create a contract that fairly compensates our employees for their vital service in a fiscally responsible way,” RISD said in a statement.

RISD doesn’t believe the strike will impact access to school buildings or any student’s day.