June 28, 2011

Binding Arbitration: Tomorrow's Schedule; Committee Contact Info; a Little Background on the Dangers of B.A.

Monique Chartier

RI Statewide Coalition's press conference is at 3:00 in the State House Rotunda. RISC points out that


RI Tea Party's press conference is at 3:30 on the Smith Street side of the State House. The Tea Party sez

If these bills pass this session, they will decimate any perception that pension reform will save RI!


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

Committee hearings (scheduled to be held simultaneously in both Chambers, making it nice and convenie ... wait, how could a concerned party attend both hearings???) start at the Rise of the House - around 4:00 pm.

List of House Labor Committee members. Phone numbers here.

List of Senate Labor Committee members. Phone numbers here.

And, if all of this hasn't convinced you, in a ProJo OpEd late last year, Steve Frias outlines how Cranston, through the joy of binding arbitration, came to have some of the highest property taxes in Rhode Island.

Just as Rhode Island’s textile strikes of 1922 and 1934 altered the course of Rhode Island’s history, so would the enactment of binding arbitration.

Binding arbitration would lead to many of the benefits that Cranston’s police officers and firefighters currently enjoy. In 1975, the firefighters union, through binding arbitration, began receiving longevity-pay bonuses that give employees additional pay raises the longer they work in government.

In 1980, a binding-arbitration decision required Cranston to provide Blue Cross to retiring firefighters for the rest of their lives even though firefighters could retire in their early 40s after 20 years of work. Today, Cranston’s unfunded retiree-health-care liability stands at $50,136,114.

In that same decision, the arbitrator established a minimum-manning requirement for firefighters, which required hiring more firefighters and increased firefighters’ ability to obtain overtime. A year later, in 1981, another binding-arbitration decision required that holiday pay be “included in determining a retiree’s pension.” What the firefighters won through binding arbitration, police officers in Cranston gained by contractual agreement out of a sense of fairness and a feeling of futility in contesting the issues in binding arbitration.

If you believe that history repeats itself, you may just learn something about what could come to pass by reading a little bit of Cranston’s past.

In point of fact, rather than expanding binding arbitration to school contracts, the General Assembly needs to revoke binding arb from the municipal side. It is one of the measures critical to backing Rhode Island's state and local tax burden down from the fifth highest in the country.


And Dan makes a couple of excellent points under Marc's post.

... the entire arbitration selection system guarantees compromises and meet-in-the-middle decisions even when compromises are not the fair and just solution. When a city is bankrupt and a teacher's union demands 8% pay increases, giving the union 3% pay increases is not justice - it is financial madness. Any arbitrator who rules in favor of the city will be blacklisted by the unions and will never be selected as an arbitrator again.
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Gaze into your future, Rhode Island:

April 16, 2010: Arbitrator Awards Boston Firefighters 19% Raise:


And there isn't a damn thing any MA voter can do about it. The wonders of binding arbitration.

Posted by: Dan at June 28, 2011 10:44 PM

You got a problem wit dat?

What's wrong with you? Yeah sure they get a 19% raise over 4 years, but now they have to endure random drug and alcohol testing.

so what if they are public servants and have to operate heavy equipment on crowded public streets, what's wrong with having a beer or three at lunch?

I'd get drug tested EVERY day for raises totaling 19% over 4 years in this economy... sign me up!

Posted by: stuckhereinri at June 29, 2011 12:03 AM

I will be at the rally on Wed., June 29. I am a former State Representative from Warwick. I was targeted for defeat by the NEA in the last election and was defeated by a longtime union member. I introduced a bill on Binding Arbitration (2010 H 7581) that was never heard in the House Labor Committee. My bill contained all the recommendations of Education Commissioner Debra Gist that give the ultimate power to local education Agencies (School Committees) to recruit, hire, manage, evaluate, and assign all personnel, and other good provisions. The Unions have proven they cannot be trusted. Binding Arbitration is off the table now!

Posted by: al gemma at June 29, 2011 10:17 AM
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