Not the Sideshow
This is being treated as a secondary matter, but in the long range it might be the more significant thread coming loose in East Providence:
The state Labor Relations Board has decided to hold a formal hearing on a complaint by the city teachers union that the School Committee violated Rhode Island labor law by insisting on public negotiations as a prior condition for collective bargaining.
The charge was filed in early December by the East Providence Education Association. Yesterday, the board confirmed that it has issued its own complaint, which says that the school board’s insistence on public talks resulted in “mere surface bargaining,” a violation of the duty to bargain in good faith.
The board’s complaint is not a finding but its own statement of the issue, which will go to a formal hearing Aug. 25.
I’m not sure where the distinction lies between the board’s having an official “complaint” and having come to a “finding,” but the idea that the only fair negotiations are those that happen outside of the view of the people who ultimately pay for the results is another bit of insanity to add to Rhode Island’s madness. If this complaint is found to have merit, the lesson will be that “fairness” is a measurement of the unions’ leverage, rather than a two-sided balance.