March 10, 2011

National Solidarity, Forever (and Blind) - Coming to Providence

Monique Chartier

GoLocalProv reports exclusively.

The American Federation of Teachers is poised to unroll a $1 million to $2 million ad campaign to fight Providence Mayor Angel Taveras over the mass terminations of city teachers, sources tell GoLocalProv.

The substantial media buy could escalate a standoff that has already seized the national spotlight, making Rhode Island one of the key battlegrounds between unions and budget hawks determined to rein in deficits and unfunded pension liabilities.

“Unions will fight this war on as many fronts as they have to, regardless of whether it’s their ‘home turf,’” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report. “This is a battle about survival to them. It’s just that fundamental.”

People, repeat after me: We're dead broke.

By the way, note the re-emergence of a certain long lost political consultant.

Guy Dufault, a retired publicist who has worked with labor unions, said the situation could escalate into an all-out PR war. “There’s no question the wholesale terminations were an attack on unions. You can’t deny that,” Dufault told GoLocalProv. “From a precedent-setting standpoint, if these terminations are then turned around and used to get rid of senior teachers, I think it would be war.”

Unfortunately, he forgot to update his talking points before coming out of retirement.

He said the real fight is between the haves and the have nots—rich Republicans and the workers the unions represent.

That's rich! Keep talking, Guy; you're a real asset ... to somebody, anyway.

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"Rich Republican's" vs "have nots"??? Being able to spend $1-2M on ad campaign in Little Rhody and threaten to fight on all fronts shows that the union clearly is in 'have' corner and flush with cash. The fact that the money paying for these ads is taxpayer funded needs to be reiterated to the taxpayers - if the union has money to throw at ads this easily then they also should be able to offer some assistance in making and shouldering necessary budget cuts.

Posted by: Jon at March 10, 2011 1:11 PM

I knew it. I knew this would happen. Instead of saying 'Wow, things really ARE so bad that the farthest-left administration in one of the farthest-left states has to trim jobs', the less intelligent members of the Rhode Island left are imagining that Chafee, Taveras, and Raimondo are all secret Republicans who hijacked the government.

At this point, I think if a roving gang of union lobbyists stole your car, ran it over your kid, and plowed it into the front of your house, it would somehow get blamed on rich Republicans.

I'm RI born and raised, but I'm starting to get VERY tired of this place. I don't mind the taxes so much as the attitude of the army of bozos running the show. Time to accelerate my mortgage payments, 27 years to go...

Posted by: mangeek at March 10, 2011 1:24 PM

I for one happen to know and like a lot of "rich" Republicans, my brother, 1st Sargent Robert Morse, who this morning left Rhode Island for a year long deployment in Afghanistan being # 1 on the list. He's only "rich" because he knows how to live within his means, and works his ass off as a correctional officer, and member of the RI National Guard. His wife is a teacher. Their pay is modest, considering the education and commitment as compared to private sector jobs.

Rich is an ambiguous term. I for one won't be joining any us vs. them protests. That being said, I also will fight any movement fueled by greed, ignorance and political one-upsmanship.

Democrats, Republicans-we're all Americans, and taxpayers, and have a vested interest in the strength and future of our respective communities.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2011 1:32 PM

If anything, Guy Dufault is a righty plant.
"Rich Republicans?" Keep feeding us the stereotypes, Guy. It was a DEMOCRATIC mayor who signed off on this ill-considered decision. There are just as many corporate toady Dems in this state as there are Republicans.
I'd spring to rent Guy a commatta to keep him occupied while the adults thrash this out. Think postpartisan for once in your life, Guy.

Posted by: bella at March 10, 2011 1:45 PM

"We're dead broke."

Speak for yourself...

"The American Federation of Teachers is poised to unroll a $1 million to $2 million"

Apparently the AFT ain't broke.

Who in the world are they referring to with the "rich Republicans" comment? Nevermind "rich", what Republicans have anything to do with the fate of Providence right now?

This is who the teachers have as one of their lobbyists? One of their spokesmen? (not to mention he was the one throwing out the Carcieri Coolattas or whatever that term was)

Posted by: Patrick at March 10, 2011 1:47 PM

This is all about preserving the flow of extorted union dues to the Democrat Party and the high-living union bosses.

The idea that union membership could be optional or that the union would have to collect its own dues without forced garnishing by the government scares the pants off the bosses. They are in full-fledged, red-faced, hyperventilating panic mode.

It's no coincidence that Republican state senators in Wisconsin have been receiving death threats. I'd like to hear our little cabal of Leftists try to rationalize that behavior.

Posted by: BobN at March 10, 2011 2:32 PM

bella-that "right wing plant" was a joke,right?

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 10, 2011 2:39 PM

No, Joe. Bella is the joke.

Posted by: BobN at March 10, 2011 3:10 PM

Guy Dufault? Another major tax scofflaw returns to the scene of his crime.

Posted by: Max Diesel at March 10, 2011 4:24 PM

Despite all the talk from michael, Dufault, and the union pigs, this column in the Wall Street Journal says everything, and frankly, is why across the country folks are finally smartening up to the frauds and liars in the union movement:

"In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority."

To hear that union ( )itch Weingarten talk, and think that she supports the policies that allow this to happen should make any self respecting human being ashamed, embarrassed and downright mortified. That is why unions are getting their asses kicked across the country. And they damn well deserve it.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 10, 2011 4:35 PM

Come down to Virginia, mangeek. Nice weather, low taxes, rising house prices, low unemployment, balanced budgets, beautiful public works, friendly people, some of the best schools in the nation. No union conflicts thanks to right-to-work legislation.

What are you waiting for, a formal invitation? Stop investing yourself in a broken-down political junk heap and load up the moving van already.

I dare you to find even one person who regrets leaving Rhode Island.

Posted by: Dan at March 10, 2011 5:26 PM

People, repeat after me: We're dead broke.

Monique wrote that with the link to a Projo article. Former State Auditor General Ernest ALmonte was quoted:

Almonte said Providence has three major revenue problems this year: reliance on $41-million worth of one-time fixes, overestimated revenues and a loss of potential tax revenue because of the many tax-exempt hospitals, colleges and universities. The tax-exempt institutions paid the city $1.9 million in the year that ended June 30, which the team characterized as “disproportionately small.”

Providence is also behind more than $2.3 billion on its pension and retiree health-care payments. It underestimated its utility bills by $1.4 million and will collect $4.1 million less than it expected to receive from tax collections.

“From a statewide perspective, the city was late on tightening its belts,” Almonte also said. “The State of Rhode Island and many other communities have been cutting their budgets for the last three years and addressing these problems. That really hasn’t happened here.”

He didn't say Providence was "dead broke".

Posted by: Phil at March 10, 2011 5:36 PM

Dan, if Virginia is so nice, why not leave your opinions there?

And Mike, Unions ain't even worked up a sweat yet. We just need some new spokespeople.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2011 7:39 PM

And Mike, Unions ain't even worked up a sweat yet. We just need some new spokespeople.
Posted by michael at March 10, 2011 7:39 PM

I think that Baghdad Bob guy is still available.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at March 10, 2011 7:52 PM

Tommy Cranston, as long as you are the voice of the conservatives, we will never work up a sweat.

Posted by: michael at March 10, 2011 8:02 PM


Where did Monique quote Almonte with the dead broke comment? I don't see any quotes around that to indicate a direct quote. I completely understood that it was Monique's voice saying it.

Or are you simply disagreeing that Providence is broke? You think Providence is in good financial shape, like the former Mayor stated?

Posted by: Patrick at March 10, 2011 8:49 PM

yeah michael, that's all you need, some new spokespeople to explain how that Teacher of the Year getting laid off was really good for the kids, in ways we the lazy pigs in public employee unions really are there for our good. Understand one thing, michael, you union losers are great at going to rally's when every working stiff is working. Don't be so ignorant to think that means everyone likes you. You saw what happened in Wisconsin. You lost! We are just beginning! Unions are for losers. I don't know one person worth their salt that needs a union. I know lots of losers that need unions.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 10, 2011 9:07 PM

Michael - Rhode Island is such a fascinating case study in the inevitable collapse of corrupt one-party systems and the failure of progressive economics. The country needs to take note of what is happening there to avoid a similar fate. I have borne witness firsthand to the utter destruction of a once healthy state economy, and thus I feel obligated to comment and share Rhode Island's story with the world. That and it's good entertainment.

Posted by: Dan at March 10, 2011 9:12 PM

Why is it that our fiends on the "right" never mention that Guy Dufault's "partner in crime" is the former Chairman of the RI Republican Party, J Michael Levesque, who is a convicted felon (obtaining money under false pretenses"
Carcieri's dept of business regulation granted the convicted felon J Michael Levesque, a Realtors license, regardless of the fact, that under law, folks convicted of financial crimes, can not work as Realtors ??

Posted by: Sammy at March 10, 2011 9:24 PM

That's a stunning revelation there Sammy.
Any more meaningless and entirely irrelevant little gems for us tonight?

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 10, 2011 9:31 PM

Can any of our union friends explain to me why they need a law that states union dues must be automatically withdrawn from members' paychecks?

I belong to a few clubs and professional organizations and not one requires this. Why? Because I value their service and I want the benefits that come with paying for their service. So I make sure my membership doesn't lapse.

If this union membership is so great and so many benefits, then why not take the state off the hook for having to collect the dues and pass that along to the union, simply let the union members send in a check each month or do bank withdrawals like I do for the local YMCA?

Or is there something that the union leadership is afraid of?

Posted by: Patrick at March 10, 2011 9:49 PM


Many of your comments I agree with. In this case I was pointing out that the "dead broke" link by Monique was not quite kosher. I am not permitted by Justin to describe Monique's comments with the degree of honesty as I would normally but this is his blog after all.

Posted by: Phil at March 10, 2011 10:40 PM

"If this union membership is so great and so many benefits, then why not take the state off the hook for having to collect the dues and pass that along to the union, simply let the union members send in a check each month or do bank withdrawals like I do for the local YMCA?"

EXACTLY. And what is the fear among public labor unions in Wisconsin that, under the Walker bill, state workers have to vote every year or two to stay unionized? If the benefits of public union membership are as clear as advocates make them, there should be no fear with such an arrangement.

Instead, the reaction has been that this would be (now is) the end of the world.

Posted by: Monique at March 11, 2011 4:04 PM
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