Tomorrow, the Rhode Island School of Design technicians will go on strike after months of contract negotiations with the school’s administration.
The RISD technicians serve as an invaluable resource for the school: these men and women teach courses and maintain the studios and shops throughout campus. As they go on strike, most of the facilities on campus will be deemed unsafe and consequently shut down, including kilns, wood shops, metal shops, glass blowing furnaces, darkrooms, and cages where students check out various equipment like tripods, cameras and recording devices.
The RISD Technician Union has outlined its contractual requests on their website. In short, the techs would like a restoration of retirement contributions (which were cut significantly in 2009 due to the economic recession), annual wage increases similar to those of RISD faculty members, and external tuition remission (a reimbursement of employees’ children’s higher education tuition costs if their child attends a school other than RISD). Additionally, the techs object to a raise in their healthcare premiums. To read the union’s request in full, click here.
In an e-mail to the school’s student body, RISD’s chief operating officer Jean Eddy and interim provost Pradeep Sharma wrote: