Best We Can Do Is Get Involved Every Time
Using his Rhode Island Law Journal blog for a much needed function, Jon Pincince digs into the judicial side of teacher strike law. You can go there for some relevant quotations from School Committee of the Town of Westerly v. Westerly Teachers Association (1973), but the part that requires further exploration is this:
[This] does not mean that every time there is a concerted work stoppage by public employees, it shall be subject to an automatic restraining order. Rule 65(b) of Super. R. Civ. P. specifically states that no temporary restraining order shall be granted without notice to the adverse party unless it clearly appears from specific facts by affidavit or verified complaint that irreparable harm will result before notice can be served and a hearing held.
What is Rule 65(b) of Super. R. Civ., and how did it come about? Yes, Jon is correct that the 1973 court stressed that the solution should come to the legislature, but in the meantime, it appears to have given itself the role of arbiter and, in doing so, has done nothing to give the General Assembly a nudge in the political will. In true Rhode Island fashion, the legislature appears to have spent the past quarter century behaving as if the problem has been adequately resolved.