School bus driver strike ends, buses expected back on roads Monday

School bus driver strike ends, buses expected back on roads Monday. (WJAR)

Providence school bus drivers are expected to be back on the roads Monday after Teamsters Local 251 reached a tentative deal with the First Student bus company that gave drivers the pension they've fought for.

The new contract with First Student Inc. was almost unanimously approved of a pension plan by 100 bus drivers at the Union Hall meeting Saturday night.

Only one bus driver did not vote Saturday night in the controversial strike that began on Sept. 27.

"Excellent, excellent. We fought hard and it wasn’t easy, but we got what we wanted," said Union spokesperson Nick Williams.

For two weeks, nearly 9,000 kids have had to find their own form of transportation to and from school. While the the union demanded a pension from first student inc who insisted on a 401k.

"That means they got the pension. They got everything they were asking for and they were very happy," said Williams.

School bus drivers will begin to accrue the pension on Jan. 1, 2019.

First student issued the following statement:

"First Student has agreed to contribute on behalf of its employees to the Teamsters defined contribution plan which is known as the New England Teamsters Savings and Investment plan."

"There’s no employee requirement to invest into it. They can if they want to but it’s a direct contribution plan 50 cents an hour the first two years and the third year it goes up to a dollar an hour," explained Williams.

While the funds will soon be secured some bus drivers say the bond that’s been built with students and parents is one that’ll need to be worked at— and one they’re excited for.

"I’m going to welcome my kids with open arms we’ve got to put a good relationship with my students and their parents," Williams noted.

Providence mayor Jorge Elorza issued a statement saying, he "looks forward to having the buses back on the road as soon as possible."


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