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Union Bus Drivers: RIDE considers non-union company for new contract

This is a photo of a broken window on a school bus in Providence. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) is considering the largely non-union DATTCO for the statewide First Student bus contract, according to Rhode Island bus drivers, supervisors and assistants.

The union has stated that DATTCO wages and benefits are significantly lower than most current union affiliates.

According to union representatives, this could lead to pay cuts and changes to workers’ benefits.

“We have worked hard with First Student through union negotiations to ensure decent wage standards and benefits in the industry to not only attract new employees, but also to retain the highest quality professionals in the industry to help our employer meet fulfill its contractual obligations,” said Lorene Hamel, a first-time student bus driver.

“Now DATTCO officials have reached out to many of our members, attempting to deceive and entice them with sign-up bonuses and even scare tactics.”

ABC6 reached out to DATTCO and RIDE for comment on this matter.