A Message from IBT Passenger Transportation Division Director Rick Middleton

FS Scituate Local 251

2020 hasn’t been anyone’s idea of a good time, but there’s good news on the horizon. A vaccine is within reach and it’s likely that by this time next year, student transportation and other transportation services that have been disrupted by the pandemic will be back in full swing all across the country. In the meantime, we haven’t taken a break from building Teamster power.

In spite of the pandemic, we’ve had a number of organizing and contract victories. Teamsters Local 251 hasn’t let COVID-19 prevent them from organizing transportation workers throughout Rhode Island. Two school bus yards in the Ocean State voted overwhelmingly to join Local 251 in less than a week – a First Student yard in Scituate and a Durham School Services yard in Smithfield. The work being done by Local 251 is a clear example of how more and more workers are asserting themselves and standing up for one another because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not just new organizing that’s succeeding – it’s contracts as well. Local 777 ratified two contracts at their First Student Villa Park location, including one for their office staff, making Local 777 one of the first local unions to organize administrative staff at a school bus company. This is a fantastic development that we can only hope to see more of in the near future.

I know it can be hard to stay optimistic at a time like this, but remember that with power in numbers we can triumph against all odds. Never forget that in spite of everything that has happened, our future is bright.