News Flash: Judge Orders East Greenwich Teachers Back to Work on Friday, September 7

More details when we have them.
I just got off the phone with Superintendent Charlie Meyers who told me the Judge made these primary points at court this afternoon:

  • There would be irreparable harm if the children were not back in school tomorrow.
  • The School Department clearly demonstrated the point about irreparable harm in court today.
  • The court order states that teachers in Rhode Island are prohibited from engaging in any work stoppage or strike.

I then talked to a School Committee member [Subsequent note: As a point of clarification, this member was not present at the courtroom.]. The member told me that the Judge also read off the names of the East Greenwich teachers who serve on the NEA negotiating team and, paraphrasing, said these words:

If you are not performing your jobs tomorrow in your schools, then you must report back to me here in this courtroom at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

It was the impression of this School Committee member that the Judge would have them arrested if they were not back in their classrooms.
East Greenwich NEA members are meeting tonight at 7 p.m. Not much for them to talk about now, is there?
A public relations disaster for the NEA.
And it is a disaster even before any East Greenwich students ask them why they went out on strike when the teachers already knew it was illegal for them to do so in Rhode Island.
Anchor Rising is THE place to go for information on the teachers’ strikes issues in Rhode Island. See the Extended Entry for all relevant links.

To get up to speed, here are the links – in chronological order – to other Anchor Rising posts about the East Greenwich teachers’ strike and the NEA:
Saying “No” to Legalized Extortion
Education Partnership Reports: Learning a lot more about RI teachers’ union contracts
Reflecting on Labor Unions on Labor Day
Update on the East Greenwich Teachers’ Contract & Suggested Future Actions
Breaking News on Anchor Rising: East Greenwich Teachers to Strike on Tuesday
More on the Issues in the East Greenwich Teachers’ Union Strike (This is a particularly important post on the substantive issues in dispute.)
The NEA’s Latest Disinformation Campaign in East Greenwich
Sometimes What is Old is New: Misguided Incentives Drive Public Sector Taxation
East Greenwich School Committee: Press Release & General Update
Mr. Subliminal Must Have Written the EG Teachers “Open Letter”
The Continuing NEA Disinformation Campaign in East Greenwich: Lies, More Lies & Even Some Melodrama
Other relevant posts on Anchor Rising include:
Burrillville Teachers to Students: Let the Pawns Skip School
Crowley, You Charmer
Researching from Outside the Library
Children Are Their Life? No, Children Are Their Leverage.
Citizen Context for Negotiations
One Side of the Phone Conversation
My Favorite Samuel Gompers Quote
The Guidebook to Public-Abuse
Not Quite Breaking (Except of Taxpayers’ Backs)
The Other Side of the Conversation in Tiverton
The Rhode Island Right’s Bizarro Politics
A Case of Crossed Hands
Best We Can Do Is Get Involved Every Time
The Continuing Saga of the Funding Formula Distraction — A Tale of Two Cities
(The last three posts in this section address the important questions of (i) what RI law and court decisions say about teachers’ strikes; (ii) the tax cap and level funding of education; and, (iii) statewide education funding formula.)

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16 years ago

How long will this take to worked out? The last time left such a bad taste that I have very little sympathy left for the teachers. According to the Pendulum the last offer rejected was health ins. increases of 12%, 15% & 18% & pay increases of 2.5%, 2.0% & 2.0%. How can that be that they are getting screwed?

16 years ago

“Not much for them to talk about now, is there?”
Don, no one is winning here, only losers. Especially the students.
You and I both know what they are going to be talking about. They are going to be talking about what are the guidelines for “work to rule”. Does that help the children, no.
BOTH sides need to make concessions and get a deal done.

16 years ago

No, Mike.
What the SC should have done is skip the trip to court to force the teachers back only to have them work to rule, and fired them instead. After hiring enthusiastic replacements, maybe then they should have headed to court – assuming, of course, that the teachers union could find a reason for dragging them there. That also would have presented a rather awkward situation for RI’s esteemed judiciary, with the esteemed justices finally having to lay their poorly hidden political cards on the table.
Unfortunately, that only happened in a parallel universe. Back here in RI, the good citizens of EG are settling in for another school year of trench warfare…
One can only hope that Walsh, Crowley and their ilk have meaninfully appeared on one of the many wires running these days in the Ocean State.

Tim Raymond
16 years ago

Very nice work on this entire saga. You have been THE source on the EG contract situation since day one.

16 years ago

On John’s point, anyone know of any school dept. in RI that has fired a (tenured) teacher for striking?
If not in RI, what about some nearby state?
I wonder whether anyone has tried it, and if so, what the outcome was.

16 years ago

here’s one for you….
projo 2004
Francis T. Cimerol, of North Smithfield, was fired about a month after a Smithfield police officer said it appeared that a 17-year- old student was performing oral sex on him in a car parked at Georgiaville Beach in Smithfield.
If the school board denies the appeal, Cimerol could appeal the board’s decision to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. If the state denies that appeal, Cimerol could appeal to Superior Court.
When Cimerol got out of the car, the officer said he noticed that Cimerol’s fly was open. Cimerol told the officer that he didn’t see what he thought he saw, the report said.

16 years ago

If I were an EG teacher, you know damned well I’d obey the court order and report for work tomorrow.
You also know damned well that if any of the kids asked me for straight talk on what this conflict was about, I’d give it to them.
The court can order teachers back to work. It can’t order the teachers to shut up, especially while the other side is putting its side of the story out there.
This story’s not over.

16 years ago

First of all, you’ve all done a great job (esp. Donald) covering this story top to bottom.
I think it would be a great thing if the E.G. teachers defied the judge, as it would make for a crystal-clear cause to fire them immediately. Since the thugs would probably intimidate the heck out of replacement teachers, I would guess that folks would need to be brought from out of state. I’ll assume they still have a little sense left in them to not say to a judge “go ahead, make my day), so it’s probably not a likely scenerio.

16 years ago

Don’t forget, EG teachers have reportedly worked a full day under old contract and have not been paid for that work day by EG. Sounds like a federal law suit against EG costing additional tax dollars to me.
Also in cast any of you have forgotten, Pawtucket teachers opted to go to jail instead of caving in to school committee and judge. All union teachers negotiators were sent to ACI and then random names of teachers were pulled each week subpoenaed and as they appeared in court were sent to ACI.
The RI court system, sheriffs and ACI was overburdened costing extensive extra time and money.
Currently the ACI is boarding on federal mandates to build new facilities because of over crowding.
There were sympathy job stoppage actions at private business and other school systems in support of Pawtucket teachers and RI made national news for jailing teachers.
It was a very messy month for RI. The school committee and teachers finally met at middle ground with a contract however, there is an underlying resentment and I hope this does not blow up again for RI’s sake.
If EG fires all teachers, they would have to interview and hire over 200 new teachers if they could find over 200 additional teachers with RI certificates that wanted to work for a town that just fired all of its teachers! EG schools might not start till after thanksgiving. EG might also have problems with federal education funding which might cause taxes to be raised.
There would be no winners and losers, just another national black eye for the State of RI.

16 years ago

Ken, you really don’t get it, do you?
Bring it on. Every year for the last two decades or longer, teachers throughout Rhode Island have received raises of 3% – 15% (including step raises). This plus the nine month work year is unparalleled in any other profession.
The result has been that Rhode Island teachers are now the 8th highest paid while Rhode Island schools are ranked 46th. 46th. Rhode Island teachers have allowed their public labor union to sweet talk them into this indefensible, lop-sided position.
We’ve known for a long time that “it’s for the chi-hhh-ldren” is a charade and now the numbers clearly back up this perception. When do we start to bring those numbers (8th vs 46th) closer together? This time, it really is “for the chi-hhh-ldren”.
While on the one hand I applaud those school committees and officials for taking a stand, frankly, whatever is on the table in Burrillville, EG and Tiverton right now is too much.

16 years ago

I say we pay RI teachers the 25th highest salaries in the nation until they bring the state up to the 25th highest performing. THEN we can talk about what THEY deserve.

16 years ago

Sorry EG parents.
What you can expect is for the teacher’s brainwashing campaign to be in full swing on the first day back.
They will be filling your children’s with all sorts of disinformation on how they are getting mistreated. You can bet the house on it!

Tom W
Tom W
16 years ago

>>There would be no winners and losers, just another national black eye for the State of RI.
The poor performance of RI’s schools is already a national black eye – exacerbated by our perennial bowing to thuggish teacher union tactics.
>>The result has been that Rhode Island teachers are now the 8th highest paid while Rhode Island schools are ranked 46th.
NOTE that the teacher pay figures only compare SALARIES; and perhaps only base salaries at that, without the a la carte add-ons for degrees, longevity, etc.
Factor in net health care contributions and the present value of the mind-boggling generous pension benefit in RI, in other words, compare TOTAL COMPENSATION, and I’ll be the RI’s teachers are among the top two or three highest paid in the country.

16 years ago

John, it all depends on what your priority is: getting the kids back in school, or vengeance upon the teachers.
I can understand the frustration aprents and taxpayers feel, but locking out the teachers, as some people here seem to be advocating, is the ultimate “be careful what you wish for” solution.
Hey, maybe some of the illegal or undocumented immigrants have teaching certificates in their valises.

16 years ago

Again with the emotionalisms. Rhody, do you have anything of substance to contribute to this discussion? We are paying professionals the 8th highest compensation while they are putting out a product which is ranked 46th. Why is it “vengeance” to ask for something better?
And before somebody says that this is an invalid comparison to the private sector, remember that this really is comparing apples to apples – teacher to teacher and student to student performances. Thanks to our elected officials not asking for more as they gave out more, RI schools are doing quite poorly compared to the rest of the country. As to the private sector, this ratio of compensation to achievement is extremely rare – on this scale, probably non-existent – in the real world.
It’s vengeance, though. Right. I’ll make a note of that …

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