Governor Carcieri: “There will be no resumption of negotiations with Council 94”
The Governor’s office released this statement about an hour ago.
“There will be no resumption of negotiations with Council 94,” said Governor Carcieri. “My administration spent six months and hundreds of hours negotiating the terms of this agreement with representatives of Council 94. Those representatives agreed to the terms that were finally negotiated. There were numerous concessions from the state, including not going forward with the layoff of hundreds of employees and guaranteed wage increases of 8.5% over the four year contract.”
“The results of this vote can lead me to only one or two conclusions. Either the representatives of Council 94 who were part of this agreement have not been negotiating in good faith, or that there is an internal power struggle between the union heads within Council 94 that undercut the vote. In either case, there is no basis for further discussions. Two-thirds of the other state employee unions have ratified the agreement, including the United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5019, which voted to ratify the agreement last night. They do appreciate the severe financial pressure the state faces, and have chosen to be a part of the solution.”
“The state’s financial status is not improving. In fact, there are signs that the national economic slow down, with high energy prices, may prolong the weak economy in Rhode Island. As Governor, I am obligated by law to balance our state’s budget and will do so.”
“I am carefully reviewing our options with my legal and administrative staff. I intend to announce a course of action next week that will be in the best interest of our state and all its citizens.”
Today’s Providence Journal has more details, including how many other public employee unions have and have not signed on to this contract.
Council 94 rejected the same deal that went to 13 smaller unions that make up the other two-thirds of the state’s work force. At least seven of the independent unions have voted to accept the four-year contract, while three have voted it down. The rest will vote in the coming days.
One puzzling item (not referenced in the article) is the assertion yesterday by Council 94 leadership that no negotiations took place between the state and the union prior to their bringing this contract to their members. If that’s the case, what exactly took place in the thirty meetings between Council 94 leadership and the administration?