January 12, 2009

Two Views of the East Providence Teacher Contract Situation

Monique Chartier

NEARI President Larry Purtill sent this letter to all Rhode Island members of the NEA on Friday.

And RISC sent out the following e-blast yesterday:


Today, Rhode Island's emergency is in East Providence, but it could easily be coming to your town next.

There is a very serious situation going on in East Providence that affects YOU - the battle between the teachers' union and the East Providence School Committee is heading to Justice Pfeiffer and could be decided any day ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 23!

The law is clear. School deficit spending is illegal.

State law prohibits teachers contracts from lasting more than three years. There is no teachers contract in East Providence. The teachers union has no basis in law to challenge the school committee's decision.

East Providence faces a nearly $9 Million deficit. Its School Committee must roll back teacher salaries 5% and institute a 20% healthcare co-pay (currently, teachers pay nothing).

And these measures address less than half the deficit!

The East Providence crisis has serious implications for all cities and towns in the state - there is simply no more money to pay for such generous entitlements for one group of public employees while everyone else suffers. Everyone must do his/her part to deal with the state's fiscal crisis. Many teachers understand the situation and are willing to help out; it is the union that refuses to budge.

PLEASE! Sign a petition to register your support of the East Providence School Committee. It will be sent to Justice Pfeiffer, as well as the media. Protect your town. Send a message today!

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Thanks for the link! I was wondering (hoping?) someone from the common sense side of this issue would do something. Will pass the link around!

Posted by: JohnO at January 12, 2009 4:48 PM

Two points:

Anyone who wants to come by EP City Hall to show their support of the School Committee is certainly welcome to attend. I definitely suggest getting there early, as seating is limited and parking is even worse. It will probably be a packed house, but I don't expect any real fireworks, due to the way the meetings are structured.

However, due to said structure of the meetings, there will be limited opportunity for public comment, since comments can only pertain to subject matter which is in the public agenda. From what I've read on the agenda posted at the secretary of state's website, quite a lot of business not necessarily pertaining to the collective bargaining issue will be discussed. There will be something discussed in the non-public executive session, but since its in executive session, there really won't be anything able to be discussed there.

Secondly, don't know if anyone caught this in the news today, but the judge currently deciding the case between the EP School Committee and the teachers union, Justice Mark Pfieffer, has announced that he will be resigning shortly, though I presume he will still render his decision before he leaves office. Hopefully, that will mean he can make a good decision for taxpayers, without fear from the powers that be (strangling us to death).

Posted by: Will at January 12, 2009 4:49 PM

I'll have a T-shirt for you when you arrive. You shall be the envy of most as these T-shirts are very limited.

Posted by: bobc at January 12, 2009 6:58 PM

So limited, they were tearing them out of your hands, Bob!

Posted by: Monique at January 14, 2009 1:11 AM
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