Picket lines will be visible outside the Rhode Island School of Design Thursday because of a labor dispute with some workers. The Technicians Union represents 44 employees, responsible for many of RISD’s famous studios.
From glass to ceramics and metalworking, Union President Tucker Houlihan said they’re crucial to a RISD education.
“We’re the ones that run the studios, we’re here all the time, we have the highest contact time with the students,” said Houlihan. “We’re the people that make sure that the place is safe, the technology is up to date, and we teach the teachers, we teach the students.”
Houlihan said that his members get fewer benefits than other RISD faculty.
“And we feel like we just are not getting anywhere with our contract negotiations which have been ongoing since May of last year.”
The union alleges that RISD has refused to resume contract negotiations and imposed terms on its workers. RISD officials say they tried to bargain with the union, but its members rejected their contract.
RISD says it is making efforts to minimize disruption from the strike for students.
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