June 1, 2009

The Unions' Legislative Connivances; or, Why We Are Where We Are

Justin Katz

A good letter from L. Chappell of Saunderstown:

With the state and local budgets running deficits, the teachers' unions wish to add insult to injury with a bill that would force municipalities to keep the expired contract in force while they negotiate a new one. This bill is clearly a reaction to the events in East Providence.

The bill sponsors, Senators Rhoda E. Perry, Charles J. Levesque, Michael J. McCaffrey, Joshua Miller and Susan Sosnowski, have shown their true colors toward the taxpayers of East Providence in particular and the state in general with this bill. Actions like this are why your property-tax bills continue to climb. Ask yourselves if you have legislation like this protecting your job.

With a law like this on the books, unions would have even less reason to negotiate toward good-faith compromise.

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Talk about a rogue's gallery. I noticed that no East Providence politician has publicly signed onto this, as they know they'd be drummed out of town. I'm taking names.

I'm at a loss for words at the insanity regularly tolerated in this state. I don't think enough people get the connection between bad politicians, bad public policy, and a bad economic climate. The unions have had their way forever, and now because the tables have turned just slightly, they try to get their minions in the legislature to do their bidding, all at our expense ... once again.

Posted by: Will at June 1, 2009 6:23 PM

Question about labor law. When a contract between an employer and a union expires, is the employer required to bargain with the union again?

Basically, if a town wanted to, the day after the contract expired, could the town tell the union that their services are no longer needed and go hire all new teachers? Or is the employer required to negotiate with the union? What's the law say here?

Posted by: Patrick at June 1, 2009 8:04 PM

The relevant laws are here: RIGL Chapter 28 . However, Chapter 28 does not exist independently of case law.

Case law defines the law - where it has been tested in the courts after interpretation by the Labor Board. A great resource for case law is the State Law Library. They have subscriptions to the case law databases - making it a simple process to locate relevant rulings on an issue. It is important to know if a ruling was already made on an issue in Superior Court. If so, the cost and time factor for legal fees goes way, way up.

Posted by: Robert Balliot at June 1, 2009 9:10 PM

The old contract was unaffordable in the first place. These union sympathizers are just looking for the municipalities to start handing out rubber checks to their members.

I guess they haven't noticed we are in economic turmoil, in part, because of them in the first place.

Posted by: kathy at June 1, 2009 9:44 PM

How could this be viewed as anything other than unending, legalized slavery? - in this case, however, of "management".

Posted by: Monique at June 1, 2009 10:53 PM

I would absolutely relish the day that a town would be able to turn around the day after a contract expired and tell the union to pack sand your services are no longer needed nor desired and QUICKLY replace them with fewer more qualified PRIVATE sector employees. Teachers are a tough one though in that, as a believer in performance based recognition, it is tough to come up with quality performance guidelines to base them on. Right now teachers unions protect the "non-performers" like most other unions do. However, an equitable scale to base performance on, in my opinion, for teachers is very difficult. As for this legislation, GARBAGE !!! Another way to protect non-performers and milk the tax-payer to pay them.

Posted by: Scott at June 2, 2009 11:10 AM
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