Strike averted: Bus company, East Providence drivers agree on contract

School Bus Safety_70321

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After months of negotiations, bus drivers in East Providence have reached a tentative deal for a new contract with the bus company they work for.

Nick Williams, the business agent for Teamsters Local 251, said the bus drivers had been at odds with Ocean State Transit, the company that oversees the city’s student transportation, over a new contract since the summer.

Williams said the drivers’ main concern was that they were being paid significantly less and received fewer bonuses than their counterparts in neighboring communities.

The union and bus company agreed upon a five-year contract Tuesday that Williams said makes significant gains in terms of pay and bonuses.

He also said the new contract brings East Providence up to what he considers the “national standard” for compensation for part-time bus drivers.

Williams said the contract must now be approved by the bus drivers. He said a vote on the contract has not yet been scheduled.

A spokesperson for Ocean State Transit said they are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement.

“We look forward to a vote by Local 251 drivers and monitors, as we continue to offer safe and reliable service to the children and families of East Providence Schools,” the bus company said in a statement.

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