After Months of Negotiation, ATU 618 Agrees to Hiring Solution
As part of its ongoing effort to honor its commitment to Rhode Islanders and provide riders with the best possible service, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has entered into an agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Division 618 that would allow recent retirees with active commercial driver’s licenses to drive for RIPTA. ATU 618 represents RIPTA’s 389 fixed-route and paratransit drivers.
With an agreement in place after months of negotiations, RIPTA’s Human Resources Department will begin reaching out immediately to recent retirees who would not need to be retrained.
“Our goal is always to move transit forward, and this agreement reflects that commitment,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer. “I’m hopeful that now that we can actively recruit recently retired drivers, we’ll be able to ease our current driver shortage and increase service frequencies.”
Avedisian added that RIPTA’s goal-oriented Transit Master Plan calls for service expansion “but we cannot continue to expand service if we do not have the necessary manpower.”
Facing an unprecedented labor shortage, RIPTA temporarily reduced service frequencies on nineteen routes on Saturday, October 22, 2022. RIPTA did not eliminate any routes and the agency plans to reinstate service levels as they are currently scheduled as soon as manpower permits.
In another element of the effort recruit new drivers, RIPTA is hosting a job fair on Friday, December 9, 2022 from 10am to 1pm at RIPTA headquarters located at 705 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. Interested applicants are encouraged to stop by or apply online at RIPTA.com/careers. All new bus operators receive up to 8 weeks of paid training, including commercial driver license (CDL) education and certification. RIPTA offers:
• Competitive salaries, a full package of benefits, life insurance policies, and pension plans.
• Paid vacations, PTO, sick leave and wellness programs.
• Room for advancement and long-term growth from within.
• A stable and supportive work culture.