Before the the student led march in support of the striking RISD Techs started, union president Tucker Houlihan was approached by RISD adminsitrators eager to negotiate a quick end to the strike that began Thursday.
“You sons of bitches are so powerful,” Houlihan said to the cheering crowd outside the RISD administrative offices downtown, “and there’s so many of you, that the administration wanted to talk, and not just talk this time, they wanted to negotiate.”
According to Houlihan, RISD signed a memorandum of agreement that maintains the tech union member’s 8 percent retirement contribution. “And they did this before you even arrived here. That is how powerful you are,” said Houlihan.
Hundreds of students and supporters marched down South Main St in support of the 44 unionized RISD Techs, members of NEARI Local 806. The crowd was so large that marchers completely encircled the administrative offices. Student Danica Mitchell was one of the organizers of the support march. Mitchell told the crowd that this effort was about more than the specifics of the demands of the striking workers.
“It’s more about promoting transparency in big institutions,” said Mitchell. She added that she hopes RISD will be more open in the future.
Today’s efforts mark a successful end to the strike. “When the technicians leave here,” said Houlihan, to the ecstatic crowd, “we’re going back to the studios that we love and they’re open!”