January 15, 2009

Hummel and the Union Trio

Justin Katz

Jim Hummel, filling in for Dan Yorke, has had three unionists on the program since 3:00, and as I've pulled up flooring and cleaned my jobsite, I've been itching to make three points:

1. Regarding the teachers'/union's behavior at the latest School Committee meeting, NEA lawyer John Liedecker pointed out that the police had said, on the radio, that at no point did the evening approach a riot. Is that the standard, now? Appropriate behavior on one side of the line and rioting on the other?

2. Local East Providence union President Valerie Lawson stated that all they want is for the School Committee to return to the negotiating table and try to get the two sides' numbers a little closer. As we've also experienced in Tiverton, this ignores the reality of what the School Committees have begun to do — namely, to tell the teachers exactly how much there is available and to move from there. In other words, there is no hidden pile of gold. Either the teachers are refusing to believe reality, or they are, in effect, demanding that the districts cut broad swaths of other spending, even though teacher pay and benefits have been draining other areas of expenditure for years.

3. I want to give a quick tip of the hat to the blogging revolution. The union trio had been claiming that the heckling was all about School Committee Chairman Anthony Carcieri's microphone misuse. When Jim Hummel played my clip of the teachers' shouting down taxpayer Tom Riley, Ms. Lawson could only stumble through a response until Mr. Liedecker jumped in and smoothly changed the subject.

Beware entrenched powers and special interests: Bloggers are out there!

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I was listening to Jim Hummel interviewing them this afternoon. When Hummel played that clip, the subject was changed very quickly. Before they were saying that their union members were behaving well. The clip showed the teacher's shouting down the taxpayer. To think that the union reps thought their people were demonstrating the democratic practice is ludicrous. It's a horrible lesson to give to their students. Especially the teacher who teacher's social studies who I heard say that she teacher's her student's to stick up for their rights and fight for them. She gaved them a lesson on how not to do it because one person who called in to Dan Yorke's show while Hummel has been sitting in said that he just wanted to hear both sides and felt threatened by what was going on. Some democratic process.

Posted by: Keith Flanagan at January 15, 2009 4:59 PM

The only reason that the East Providence school committee and the EP teachers union haven’t yet met at the bargaining table is because the union refused to bargain in a public forum.

It is no wonder that the union refuses to bargain in front of the public. Public negotiation would finally force them to be accountable for what they say and how they act while negotiating. Their tired union act won’t hold up under public scrutiny. It is old and worn and the public would never stand for such a waste of their hard earned dollars. The Valerie Lawsons of the world would be completely exposed as they stumble through their half-truths, mistruths and illogical money grabbing antics.

The public employee union gravy train is ending! There is no more money!

Posted by: Frank at January 15, 2009 5:03 PM

I enjoyed listening to the 3 Stooges squirm, as caller after caller called them out. Are they ignorant, delusional, or just plain lying? Time will tell.

Remember, democracy is only for them, and screw the rest of us. I believe that the term used by Val Lawson was "accurate facts", as the justification for teachers repeated interrupting and shouting down Tom Riley.

They keep saying "accept the arbitrators award" as if magical money will appear out of nowhere to pay for it. The arbitrator admitted when he made his ruling that "ability to pay" was not a criteria for his non-binding decision. They accuse the city of underfunding the schools by only giving the schools a 1% increase in their budget, but they don't seem to care to explain that the only way that the city has to generate revenue is by cutting other programs or raising property taxes significantly. Who wants even higher property taxes?

I heard a teacher call in, who claimed that she felt like they're being singled out. Absolutely wrong. Again, the school committee only has jurisdiction over school spending, nothing else, so trying to say, "the police or fire people don't do that" or the teachers in Town A don't do that" just aren't legitimate arguments. The teachers represent a majority of the city budget, and virtually all of the school budget (87%). If the police or fire cost that much, we'd be going after them more, too. It's purely a matter of dollars and cents.

They talk out of both sides of their mouth, claiming that "they understand the problems facing the city," and then Mr. Liedecker basically said the school department deficit is just a big illusion meant to take down the teachers union. It's always about them, isn't it? I guess we must have some gold bars stacked in the basement at City Hall after all. Unbelievable.

By the way, I learned today, that the deficit that East Providence faces is going to be much worse than originally thought, so expect some more action quickly. If the supplemental budget passes as is, the state will be cutting $2.27 million in general revenue sharing, taking a total of $4.5 million from the city this year. The city already has a $4 million debt.

Posted by: Will at January 15, 2009 5:23 PM

And as to the "accurate facts", even if the guy was giving "inaccurate facts", so what? Is that a reason to shout him down? Everyone was going to get their chance to speak, so if you believe the info that the man was giving is wrong, then just step up to the mike and explain, "the speaker who said 5%, was wrong. the fact is...", you don't shout him down.

I wonder if that's ok in the classroom too, if a teacher misspeaks to have all 24 students start shouting at the teacher. Of course not...

Posted by: pitcher at January 15, 2009 6:06 PM

The other question that I have for the EP teachers and the other liberals defending them, that if they believe that in a legally negotiated contract where one side owes the other side money, and they're willing to fight for this, then are they also in support of the banks who are foreclosing on homeowners who are upside down in their mortgages? Do these liberals feel that the people should have to pay at least the upside down difference on the mortgage to the bank, even though they walk away? After all, this is a legally negotiated contract. Just because one side has no more money doesn't matter, they should find more money and abide by the contract, right?

So when will I hear Val Lawson and Pat Crowley screaming against all these people who have just walked away from their mortgages and left the banks in a lurch? Why be consistent, eh?

Posted by: pitcher at January 15, 2009 7:03 PM

I heard a few minutes of the show.

An old saying among lawyers came to mind: "when you can't argue the law, argue the facts, and when you can't argue the facts, argue the law."

What I heard was a variation. They were arguing the process - collective bargaining and the NON-BINDING arbitrators award.

For many in the union world "collective bargaining" holds a quasi-religious quality - something holy and inherently good and above all questioning.

In reality it is a statutory imposition forcing an unwilling employer to deal with an outside third party - the union.

The union in East Providence cannot argue the merits of their compensation package.

So they're repeating the mantra of "collective bargaining" ... OM ... OM ... OM.

Posted by: Tom W at January 15, 2009 7:26 PM

The public employee union gravy train is ending! There is no more money!

Posted by Frank at January 15, 2009 5:03 PM

You know-you state a simple fact that they just haven't grasped yet. They will though, in time.
The funny thing is the leadership gets it. Murphy, Montalbano, Williamson, Caprio, Costentino all get it. They are just trying to find a way to tell Junior there is no Santa Claus with the least possible temper tantrum.
Of course, the next shoe drops on Feb. 10 with the unveiling of the 10 budget by Carcieri.
Keep your valiums handy unionists and "progressives".

Posted by: Mike at January 15, 2009 8:20 PM

One idea tha occured to me this afternoon while listening to the continuous cometary was that perhaps the School Committes (and Colleges) should negotiate a fixed fee with the Unions to provide services and let the union members fight among themselves as to who gets how much. They seem to be the de faco employers already, why not formalize it and let them take the heat.
Think about it.....lots of interesting possibilities emerge.

Posted by: Langdon Clough at January 15, 2009 9:15 PM

[ohmmm ... ohmmm ... ]

"The union in East Providence cannot argue the merits of their compensation package."

In their place, though they are quickly dispelled, considerable inaccuracies are purveyed.

"I heard a teacher call in, who claimed that she felt like they're being singled out"

Isn't there still a multi-million dollar deficit even after the School Committees new terms? So the whole budget problem has not been balanced on the teachers. Additionally, as Will said, teacher compensation is 87% of the school budget. Unfortunately, cuts have to be made from the largest part of the budget.

"The union trio had been claiming that the heckling was all about School Committee Chairman Anthony Carcieri's microphone misuse"

No, indeed. I would estimate that, during the formal meeting, a heckling remark was shouted or a boo was brayed (and almost invariably echoed) from the pro union section of the audience on average every one-two minutes. Less than 5% of them pertained to the microphone situation.

Most annoying of all was that these heckling remarks were not at all clever or original. In fact, the tone of the shouted remarks and the fact that remarks were being shouted at all was altogether predictable, boring and unproductive.

Posted by: Monique at January 15, 2009 9:32 PM

Langdon Clough's idea has merit.

You tell the Union hacks that the city will pay out not one dime more than last year. The money will be payed in 12 equal installments to the Union and they can decide how to divide it up.

Then we could all sit back and watch as they eat their own.

Can you imagine Pat Crowley having to make decisions on the allocation of LIMITED resoucres?

Can you imagine Pat Crowley not having a boogey man (i.e. a SC or a Taxpayer) to blame?

It would be like Christmas every day.

Posted by: George Elbow at January 15, 2009 11:00 PM

Hummel's biases are just as evident on talk radio as was his reporting on T V . His policy seems to be the VICTIM is always at fault . I actually thought I was listening to Pat Craaaawley ( mispelling intentional ) from the N E A R I .

Posted by: leprechaun at January 16, 2009 8:44 AM


I had to break out the thickening ice in East Greenwich cove and drive my boat to a ice free harbor and had an opportunity to listen to the radio program you have mentioned.


Trying to pay attention to the radio but my thoughts are on the wisdom of leaving the dock in these frigid conditions.


This is interesting because the are so few opportunities for labor to speak for themselves in the media. Hummel has been struck with a sense of fairness.


This ice is getting thick and the forecast for colder weather is grim. I'd better get out now or face trying tommorrow under worse conditions. Gee they have a lot of advertising on this channel even after the problem with the ratings being fudged.


Ah, decision made. Cables for throttle are really stiff , much worse than yesterday. Hummel is back on. He does'nt sound too bad but looks like Howdy Doody. Union people doing a good job sticking to their points.


Wow there's a huge flock of birds flying right on the water's surface. The wind's not that bad. Worried about the freezing spray completely covering the cabin's windows. It will be better after I turn south after Sand Point.


I can't pay attention to the radio any more as I approach the harbor . The heater went out again. Shit. I'm going to have to replace it.



The heat in the truck feels good on my feet. The tie up here is good . I'll have to go to the town hall to pay for the whole season even though I'm staying only as long as the ice keeps me out of EG. I'll do it tommorrow. I won't get to work if the weather is even colder. Heard the union folks say that the real reason the meeting was called off was because the Carcieri guy did'nt want the next person who was to speak get the chance.


I missed much of the show but did hear Hummel make a passing reference to Anchor Rising. I guess someone's hat size is going to suddenly increase. Oh I can get a heater here.



I didn't know that this was the grand opening. I got a heater that is a lot like the old one. Hope it lasts longer. It was $40. Bought a gift card too to help Habitat for Something or another. They had some nice pictures up of the housing projects in RI and the woman at the booth was singing along with a Stevie Wonder song on the radio. Nice voice.

Posted by: Phil at January 16, 2009 9:58 AM

This Phil should be banned. All the leftist trolls like Rhody, OTL, Ken, Jerzyk, Donnis, etc. only come here to ridicule. They have their own Marxist blog. This blog should be used for stratagizing and internal debate among those who are AGAINST the crony/union/welfare troika which is strangling this state; not those who are apologists for the current insanity.Ban them all.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2009 7:35 PM

Ban me? OK Call me a leftist troll? OK Rhody, OTL, and Ken are fine but liken me to Jerzyk, Donnis, and whoever etc. is. Are you mad?

Posted by: Phil at January 17, 2009 8:29 AM

Mike, stop acting crazier than usual.

Phil is not going to be banned, because disagreeing with Mike is not a bannable offense. The comments section of this blog are for anyone who wants to engage in honest discussion. And nobody in your list of names could fairly or accurately be described as a troll.

Posted by: Andrew at January 17, 2009 1:55 PM

Actually, as a frequent subject of Mike's rage, I say any of us he terms as trolls should wear it as a badge of honor.
Three words: consider the source.

Posted by: rhody at January 17, 2009 7:30 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.