Those Who Face Reality, Those Who Do Not
AR commenters and contributors have observed for some time that the source of the budget problem now facing the state and locals is not a lack, demonstrated by our high property and other taxes, of revenue but rather, many years of imprudent spending.
In Providence, Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America representing 1,900 city workers has offered concessions, including an 18 month pay freeze.
In Cranston, Local 153 of the National Association of Government Employees representing one hundred school custodians and maintenance workers have agreed to forego raises for two years and to contribute more towards health coverage.
Both sides called the contract a compromise, one that saves money and puts people back to work.
“A job is a job,” said John F. Carbone, president of Local 153 of the National Association of Government Employees. “In layman’s terms, we were able to save five jobs.”
Tuesday night, East Providence City Councilors instructed legal counsel to research and report back on the option of municipal bankruptcy. By making such a request, it is clear that they are serious about their promise not to try to stick their taxpayers with a substantial budget shortfall. Quite simply, there is no more revenue to be had. Local 1033, Local 153 and the City of East Providence appear to be coming to grips with that fact.
As for “Those Who Do Not”:
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2009
Statement from National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) President Larry Purtill in response to Judge Pfeiffer’s decision regarding East Providence:
We are disappointed in Judge Pfeiffer’s decision to deny the restraining order that would have stopped the East Providence School Committee from unilaterally rolling back teacher salaries and implementing a 20% co-share for health care. Teachers are being harmed by the loss of pay but we have confidence that the union has a good argument before the Rhode Island State Labor Board, who has initial jurisdiction in the case. At the moment, NEARI and East Providence teachers are considering all their options, based on the judge’s decision, including an appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
East Providence teachers, despite doing their job each day in teaching the students in their classrooms, are losing money and that will continue until we reach a resolution. With the anticipated increased revenue for education from President Obama’s Economic Recovery Package, the School Committee could put an end to this contract dispute by accepting the arbitrator’s award and or sitting down with the teachers in serious negotiations.