A Teamster School-Bus Strike Is Settled The Day After 6 Buses Are Torched In ‘Suspicious’ Fire

Source: WJAR | Trunto10.com

A two-week Teamsters strike was settled the day after a suspected arsonist torched several school buses.

Providence, RI—On Thursday evening, two weeks after Teamster-represented school bus drivers went out on strike over union demands that the drivers go into a union pension plan, six buses were destroyed in a ‘suspicious’ fire in the bus yard of First Student.

Source: WJAR | Turnto10.com

On Friday, First Student and the Teamsters reached a tentative agreement.

Arson is suspected, according to TurnTo10.com.

“Of course, it is suspicious,” Providence’s Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “Certainly, the elephant in the room, the timing of it, also is odd.”

“Teamsters Local 251 and our Providence school bus drivers condemn the property damage that occurred at the First Student bus yard after we left the picket line,” the Teamsters stated on Facebook. “We are thankful there appear to have been no serious injuries among the firefighters who quickly responded.”

“These are our buses too. After we negotiate a secure retirement and this labor dispute ends, we’ll go back to our jobs driving those buses. Anyone who thinks that day is advanced by what happened last night is badly mistaken.”

On Friday, after the tentative contract was announced, striking drivers were apparently pleased with the tentative deal.

The contract was ratified unanimously Saturday, according to the Teamsters’ Facebook page.

“The compromise is that the pension is a “defined contribution” plan rather than a “defined benefit” plan,” according to the Providence Journal, “which the Teamsters were fighting for.”

First Student will contribute 50 cents per hour worked into the New England Savings and Investment Pension Fund for the first two years of a driver’s employment. After that, the company’s contribution will increase to $1 per hour worked. Drivers can contribute on a voluntary basis.

“First Student has maintained from day one that it would not participate in the underfunded New England Teamster defined benefit pension plan. The contract ratified by Local 251 does not contain a provision for participation in that underfunded pension,” stated First Student spokesman Frank McMahon.


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