(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 applauds the approval of H6118/S635 by the General Assembly and its passage into law with the signature of Governor Dan McKee. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Gregg Amore and Senator Valerie Lawson, essential school transportation workers in Rhode Island will enjoy some of the strongest labor protections, serving as a model for the rest of the country.
H6118/S635 guarantees that agreements between school districts and transportation providers guarantee fair standards for workers, including a mandatory minimum of 180 paid days, as is the case with teachers and many other dedicated school employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to level the playing field for these workers, as decisions to move to remote schooling often happen with less than 24 hours’ notice, leaving workers with unpredictable hours and reduced pay.
Timothy Melia, President of UFCW Local 328, applauded the passage of H6118/S635 by stating, ”This legislation will improve the quality and retention of drivers throughout the state of Rhode Island who transport our children on a daily bases. With the mandatory 180 days of pay and the prevailing wage provision, these are no longer just transient temporary jobs, but rather, permanent well-paying jobs. This is not only good for the students and the school districts that they transport for, but good for our community as a whole.”
The selection of a safe and reliable school transportation provider is a crucial decision for municipalities, and H6118/S235 will guarantee that worker rights, fair pay, transparency, and environmental standards will all be factored in to this process.
See below for the letter UFCW Local 328 submitted to the Rhode Island House of Representatives earlier in the year.