Press Releases

Teamsters Hold Picket at RISD

RISD Contract Picket

Essential Workers Demand Compensation on Par with Other Area Universities

Press Contact: Matt Taibi Phone: (401) 434-0454 Email:

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – Today, Teamsters Local 251 members working as custodians, groundskeepers, and movers at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) held an informational picket outside of the college. The workers are demanding that RISD give them a contract that has wages and benefits commensurate with what other union-represented Rhode Island college and university workers receive.

“We’re out here today because RISD workers deserve a fair contract,” said Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 251 and Teamsters Eastern Region Vice President. “We’re honored to have the support of students and faculty, who stand unwaveringly in solidarity with us.”

“We shouldn’t have to take a strike vote or be on campus picketing to get what we deserve,” said John Cabral, a custodian/caretaker at RISD. “If this college cares about equality, they can start by paying their workers wages and benefits that are equal to the local area standards.”

The college has an endowment of $440 million and an operating budget of $161 million. From July 2019 through June 2021, RISD gained $85 million. Support for the workers was demonstrated by an open letter sent to the RISD administration in December, which has garnered hundreds of signatures from students, alumni, faculty and other workers.

“We are proud to stand in solidarity with these workers of Teamsters Local 251 and trust that, in keeping with RISD’s stated values to promote ‘the physical, emotional and mental well-being of our entire community’ and to ‘furthering progress in Providence and Rhode Island through mutually beneficial engagement with the community,’ the administration will move swiftly to meet these workers’ demands,” the letter said.

Teamsters Local 251 represents over 6,300 workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. For more information, go to