June 22, 2011

Municipal Bankruptcy Accelerant: Binding Arbitration Prowls the Back Rooms of the State House

Monique Chartier

The RI Tea Party sent out the following alert yesterday.

Union leaders are behind the scenes looking for their quid pro quo as a result of the budget freeze on longevity payments. They are lobbying the Senate Labor Committee and all members of the Senate for the passage of binding arbitration on fiscal matters in our school systems as a payback for the freeze on bonuses for seat time! What does this mean? Public sector unions want binding arbitration on fiscal matters when school districts reach impasse with the local union leaders. They want to strip elected officials of their democratic rights to regain control over unaffordable and unsustainable contracts. They don't care that your property taxes will only increase as a result of their ultimate control via an arbitrator. Since when should a private citizen, earning a living as an arbitrator, have the right to set the very cost drivers that suck-up the majority of property tax revenue? Since when has arbitration ever had any positive effects on student achievement?

And this critical point:

There is NO compromise that any bill could provide that makes binding arbitration and perpetual contracts taxpayer or student friendly!

Correct. In fact, on the procedural level, it is misguided compromises like these that have bestowed upon Rhode Island its chronic budget shortfalls, bad economy and anti-business (therefore, anti-worker) environment.

On the macro level. There are some legislative initiatives that continue the state's march towards financial extinction - but slowly. (The poor business climate. Ever more taxes. Refusal to grant cities and towns the tools they need to control their own budgets - actually, that's probably not so slow.) Then there are the fast track proposals: lack of real pension reform. "Perpetual" contracts. And this, binding arbitration.

To trade longevity bonus give-backs for binding arbitration is kind of like a cancer patient getting one chemo therapy session in exchange for a dose of poison. Let us hope that Rhode Island's medical proxy sees the destructiveness of this absurdly disproportionate trade-off. Or better, perhaps the Tea Party is correct and this needs to be specifically pointed out to members of the House Labor Committee.

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.

Binding arbitration is checkmate in the union's vicious game against the taxpayers. There is no next round. Game over.

Progressive "economic expert" Tom Sgouros claims that it will save the municipality money - that in itself should warn against a slow and painful taxpayer death.

Posted by: Dan at June 22, 2011 10:28 PM

" claims that it will save the
municipality money"


Posted by: Monique at June 22, 2011 10:35 PM

Monique- your analogy is spot-on.

Posted by: Lee at June 23, 2011 11:22 AM

What better than Alice in Wonderland to provide insight into labor/management relations?

here is the low down adapted from Lewis Carroll:

I passed by a Tea Party, and marked with my eye,
How Management and Labor were sharing a pie
Management took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
While Labor had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, Labor, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon;
While Management received knife and fork with much savor,
And concluded the banquet by devouring Labor.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 23, 2011 12:38 PM

OTL, here's my attempt at verse, let's see which one is better:

"Union leadership is a bunch of pigs"

Posted by: Patrick at June 23, 2011 1:38 PM

Old Time Lefty you deleted the verse about labor and the corrupt union heads devouring the taxpayer before they even sat down to eat.

Posted by: ANTHONY at June 23, 2011 2:28 PM

Colorful, and clever in a ninth-grade sort of way, but utterly meaningless drivel from Lefty.

Posted by: BobN at June 23, 2011 5:09 PM

OTL lives in a Marxist fantasy world - this should surprise none of the readers here.

Posted by: Dan at June 23, 2011 5:44 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

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