Breaking News: East Providence Teachers Vote to Work-to-Rule

Further to a prior conversation thread, Anchor Rising does not specialize in scoops. But if someone – in this case, Will Ricci of the Ocean State Republican, with access to a telephone but not a computer – kindly offers one, this contributor at least will not refuse it.
East Providence teachers met this afternoon to determine a course of action in the absence of a contract. Will advises the upshot: teachers did not vote to authorize a strike but did vote to work-to-rule.
ADDENDUM
In Friday’s ProJo, Alisha Pina had more details about what led to the breaking off of negotiations Wednesday between the East Providence School Committee and the East Providence Education Association.

[School Committee member Anthony] Carcieri said the district needs $3 million in annual concessions from the teachers and suggested over the last two weeks of meetings that the union could get to that amount with minimum or no salary increases, health insurance cost contributions, and the elimination of a current contract provision that allows teachers to receive up to $5,100 if they choose not to take coverage under the school’s health-insurance plan.
The union’s counteroffer was about $1 million in annual concessions, Carcieri said. [Negotiator for the teachers’ union Jeanette] Woolley said Carcieri’s “math is wrong” and she didn’t want the specifics of their offer made public before the teachers are told.

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Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

Let’s see, do professionals “work to rule?”
Hmmm.
Never heard of doctors doing it. Or nurses. Or lawyers. Or architects.
Gee, I guess that professionals don’t “work to rule.” Perhaps that’s one reason why they’re called professionals in the first place – their commitment to a applying a certain level of skill and dedication of their job because it is their duty, express and implied.
So what does that make the teachers in EP?
One can look upon them for the union label, just don’t look for professionalism. They’re mutually exclusive when you’re talking about NEA / AFT.

Will
12 years ago

Just got back. Very busy day. Thanks, Monique.
…But they’re doing this “for the children,” right? Yeah, right. More like “to the children.”
This is what I had presumed they would do, because it would not be in their short-term interests to strike, since they know the city is stuck between a rock and a hard place financially. More importantly, there is a majority of the school committee ready and willing to use the nuclear option, if it came down to it — and they know it.
There are three good things about “work to rule”: First, it reinforces the idea that the teachers’ union is in this for their own self-interests, and not the children’s, because it’s the children that will get the short end of the stick. Secondly, it tends to backfire on the teachers, turning the public against them, because the parents of the students get to see it for what it is. Lastly, it gives the school committee a better idea of all the things that should be included in the new contract, so that they can’t use our school children as pawns in the future.

Frank
Frank
12 years ago

Insightful comments as always Tom and Will.
Will I have been following the EP situation but I’m not sure what you mean by the “nuclear option”.

Will
12 years ago

The “nuclear option” is a euphemism. It would probably be a bit messy, but it would generally refer to terminating all of them, and quickly hiring replacement workers from elsewhere (think “PATCO”). Don’t think I’m kidding about that either. In this economic environment, especially in East Providence, it is absolutely something that is on the table. With 8.8% unemployment, anyone is replaceable.
There will probably be some thinning of the ranks, regardless of the outcome of this contract issue. The truth is, we have too many teachers and administrators for a city our size, with steadily decreasing student enrollment. Personnel costs are our major cost driver.
PS I’ve always been a fan of Roman “decimation” myself. 😉

Robert A Paquin III
12 years ago

Dont they still get free health care? Boy that sure is a reason to be upset! Cmon – im in the wrong profession – im going to enroll at RIC, get a B.S. in Ed. and go teach History and Politics in EP – id probably be making more money than i do now….

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
12 years ago

its time….there are thiusands of very qualified teachers that want and dont have jobs. there would be a week or so of disruption but hire replace ments and everything will be better in the long run.
if it were my kids in school, i would vote for replacements in asecond.
its time.

George
George
12 years ago

Has anyone seen George Elbow? Not to take away from the comment quality of other “greats” here like Will and Tom W. But, I really miss that guy.

Will
12 years ago

George,
Actually, I have seen the other “George.” He’s been very exceptionally busy as of late, and therefore, commenting has probably not been a high priority. However, he’ll likely be significantly less so after Tuesday’s elections.

Frank
Frank
12 years ago

Thanks Will. I thought that was what you were referring to but I wasn’t aware that there was an elected body out there that was gutsy enough to consider it. Hats off to the East Providence school committee for being willing to play hardball with the teacher’s union. This is exactly what Rhode Island needs: individuals with bravery and intelligence standing up to those entrenched and powerful interests that have been running, and ruining, our state.

James L
James L
12 years ago

I think what administrations need to start doing is figuring out what doesn’t get done during “work to rule” and put it in the contract as normal daily activities for the teachers. Then they can work to rule all they want. Just as long as they stick to the terms of the contract.

Pat Crowley
12 years ago

By the way, Will is misinformed. Again. The Teachers did not vote to engage in work to rule.
A retraction would be nice. If you are going to do scoop, at least get the facts right.

Will
12 years ago

If I am misinformed, it is only because I have been provided incorrect information from my trusty union mole. I’ll check back in and get you a clarification if necessary. It’s my understanding that since they agreed to work under the old contract, that they are limiting themselves to what is specifically required of it. That would be de facto, if not actual, “work to rule.”

Pat Crowley
12 years ago

And you would be wrong Will in your assumption. As usual. I wonder if you’ll have Monique make the correction.
Monique, will you make the correction?

Ron
Ron
12 years ago

Hey, this article is false… They are working under the old contract. THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS WORK TO RULE… This means business as usual.In my case I work from about 7am – 4pm… If it was work to rule I would have to leave at 2. It cracks me up about all the false information. Teachers are willing to co-pay, forgo good health coverage for a lesser plan, and take a pay freeze. I like how the article barely states this. At least if people are being critical- Get the facts straight. The headline is even wrong.

Ron
Ron
12 years ago

The teachers are working as usual and letting the courts settle it. They are just working under the old contract. The duties are exactly the same… Whoever this supposed UNION MOLE is must be a moron because they are wrong. All extra-curricular activities are also still happening… Nothing has changed EXCEPT there is no official contract and the two sides are going to ARBITRATION to work out a deal.
The headline should be fixed. There is no intent on ever working to rule or striking for that matter.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

> At least if people are being critical- Get the facts straight. The headline is even wrong.
Well start holding your meetings in public, and negotiations in public, and we’ll have no excuse not to “get the facts straight.”

Pat Crowley
12 years ago

Poor Tom W. looses all that legal work and looks to blame others for it.

ron
ron
12 years ago

I do not agree with work to rule. It accomplishes nothing… strikes also accomplish nothing. However, I am a hard-working, dedicated teacher that even comes home and corrects papers until 9 or 10 at night. I also work a few nights a week snd in the summer part time. I resent some of those comments. I do not demonize your professions because of a few bad seeds. Now if your asking if I will would work to rule if a union voted to… Of course, any fool knows you don’t cross a union line, however, I don’t support it.

Pat Crowley
12 years ago

“Accordingly, will you, Pat, and you, Ron, join myself and the other commenters on this thread in deploring this unprofessional and destructive practice?”
If you agree to give teachers a fair dispute resolution mechanism like binding arbitration. See Monique, I know you like to portray this as a very simple question with simple answers, but like most right wing analysis, you miss many levels of interest. You seem like you do understand a lot of things, wo why allow yourself to be twisted by people like Will and Tom W?
And a correction in the comments isn’t good enough.
nd one last thing. So many readers question why professionals would engaged in a tactic like only doing the work they are paid to do. Let me ask them, how many professionals they work with have to spend time during their work day watching bathrooms?

ron
ron
12 years ago

Yes, I agree. The facts should be set straight in the headline. Many people do not read comments. No matter what the STORY, the facts should be CORRECT in my opinion, even if one diaagrees with them. They should be fixed at the top. It makes it seem like you have a hidden agenda, other than to report the truth, by not changing the headline.

ron
ron
12 years ago

I AGREE! The headline should be FIXED! It is not enough to fix comments because some people don’t read them. if your goal is to tell the truth, and you know for a FACT that the teachers are not working to rule, then the only RIGHT thing to do is fix the headline.Unless of course you have a hidden agenda. That would really dishearten me… Even if I diagreed with someone, I woud report the facts accurately, and if I found out I didn’t, I would fix them. So please do the right thing and fix the headline.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>Poor Tom W. looses all that legal work and looks to blame others for it. Funny, I’ve never performed legal work for any school committee or municipal government or state agency in Rhode Island. Nor have I ever submitted a proposal to any of those entities seeking such work. You may post your correction at any time Mr. Crowley. Speaking of corrections, I’m not a part of the Anchor Rising team, but personally I’ve no problem with the “headline” being corrected, or other form of correction posted. I would expect no less from RI Future (though I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it over there). Just curious, is “work to rule” off of the table completely, or just through the next round of arbitration? >>I do not agree with work to rule. It accomplishes nothing… strikes also accomplish nothing. However, I am a hard-working, dedicated teacher that even comes home and corrects papers until 9 or 10 at night. I also work a few nights a week snd in the summer part time. I resent some of those comments. I do not demonize your professions because of a few bad seeds. I will take you at your word, and kudos to you for your personal dedication. But the criticism is not about a few bad seeds, but about the system as warped by unionization. You may devote what hours are necessary for accomplishing your mission, but you are not contractually required to. Quite the opposite. You can be a slacker and yet virtually immune from discipline, much less termination. And your pay and benefits will scale up based merely upon your seniority, longevity bonuses and “extras” for degrees, certifications and the like, even if you don’t apply that increased knowledge in the classroom. If you are as skilled and… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>Imagine if RI’s schools were staffed almost entirely by people like you, and were no ranked world-class
I missed a typo. It should have said “were now ranked …”
Sorry.

ron
ron
12 years ago

You actually think that they will pay me a decent salary under any circumstance without a UNION… Since it is taxpayer money, they do not want to foot the bill for education. Just look at the pay PRIVATE school teachers get without a union.Most of them need two or three oart time jobs. The union has traditionally saved the working man.
You could have the best teacher on earth and a school district would not pay them $100,000. The tax payers would be livid as they don’t value education. People vote with their wallet. Everyone knows that. Many teachers, lawyers, businessmen, etc. also vote with their wallet. If you think differently then you live in a fantasy world.

ron
ron
12 years ago

By the way if you look in Tuesday’s Providence Journal, the East Providence school committee,the one’s trying to cut the budget, signed the new superintendent to a three-year deal at $140,000 and $10,000 worth of extra benefits. He now becomes the THIRD highest paid superintendent in the state. As I recall, Mr. Defaria said everyone has to pitch in and help the budget. Doesn’t this start with good LEADERSHIP that is willing to make concessions? This guy was so bad that he lost his job in Foster, and now East Providence decides to pay him an enormous ammount of money. If the people at the top are not willing to help the taxpayers, then how can you expect teachers?

robj
robj
11 years ago

This is why I left teaching. As a music teacher, my first concern was for my students…but you can’t believe the grief I got when I wanted to do a band practice after school. Teachers don’t have the right to strike, so the refuse to do anything over and above what their contract specifically calls for. One school district I know of has told teachers not to sign recommendation letters so students can apply for college. My staff (I’m no longer a teacher remember) is taking a 10% pay cut this year and increasing their co-pay on health insurance (a much less lucrative insurance plan than teachers get). If teachers consider themselves professionals, they should do two things…(1) Act like it, and (2) disband the union. Taxpayers need to wake up.

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