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FRAMINGHAM – NRT bus drivers in Framingham could strike in May.

Today, April 27, Framingham Public Schools were notified that the Teamsters Union Local 170 school bus drivers and monitors will likely be striking against NRT, Inc., the bus company that services Framingham Public Schools, beginning on May 8, 2023.

According to the Teamsters, “NRT, Inc. continues to refuse to reach a fair contract for school bus drivers and monitors. We understand that a strike will be disruptive to school operations and may cause hardship for families.”

Framingham Public Schools Executive Director Lincoln Lynch IV told the School Committee, the City Council, and the Mayor “We are in communication with NRT management and will provide updates as we have them. As you are aware, without this service the ability to get to school would be compromised for students. Dr. Tremblay has already reached out to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. Please know that we are engaging in conversations to determine communication and contingency plans to staff and families.”

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NRT bus drivers, who are unionized and part of the Teamsters, held an informational picket last night, April 26, in front of the Memorial Building before the Framingham School Committee meeting.

About 3 dozen bus drivers, along with Framingham Teachers Association members held signs during the informational picket last night.

Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay was outside talking to the bus drivers to hear their concerns and the lack of progress in regards to negotiations with NRT, the company that has the Framingham Public Schools bus contract.

District 3 School Committee member Jennifer Moshe was also seen outside of the memorial Building talk to bus drivers.

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“I had the opportunity to speak with several of our bus drivers, and the most significant common factor is they love what they do. A major factor that seems to be an ongoing issue is employer relations with bus drivers and their employer. While the school committee has been trying to understand the bussing discrepancies with drivers and the inability to get our students to school on time, the bussing problems are not with FPS or our students. While trying to comprehend why our contract is not fulfilled with bus drivers, this may be the information we have been missing from the bigger picture,” said Moshe, who has been critical of NRT at several meetings this school year.

NRT has the current contract with the district. The contract is for 77 bus drivers. When school started, NRT could only supply 60 bus drivers. As of now, NRT is supplying even less drivers – about 55 drivers.

The drivers said that NRT is stalling when it comes to negotiations, they have reduced the number of paid holidays from 5 a year to just 2 holidays, and they have eliminated a sick incentive program that the previous vendor Durham Bus Company had. The drivers also said when Durham ended its contract with the public school district there were 66 drivers. By the time the school year began with NRT, the numbers had dropped to just 60 drivers.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.