Well, If RIFT’s Onboard…
Did you know that the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers opposed proposals for binding arbitration? Neither did I. But hey, now that the union has dropped its opposition, we might as well move forward with the practice, right? That’s the implication of Jennifer Jordan’s online report:
A change of position by one of the state’s teachers unions could pave the way for the state to adopt binding arbitration as a way to avoid teacher strikes, an approach used in Connecticut since 1979.
One must turn to the longer version that appears in the print edition, which is significantly harder to find online, to discover that there might be any downside to this attempt to “save communities from spending money on attorney fees while eliminating the threat of teacher strikes or work-to-rule situations,” in Majority Leader Gordon Fox’s words. But there it is, in paragraph 12 (of 23), appearing on page A6, after the NEARI’s Bob Walsh has laid out the union position to Fox’s second:
The Rhode Island Association of School Committees opposes binding arbitration, said executive director Tim Duffy.
Read down a bit farther, and you find that the Connecticut boards of education and finance, as well as municipal officials, all want binding arbitration to go away, or at least be reformulated, because it “costs communities tens of thousands of dollars.” Moreover, according to Patrice McCarthy, deputy director and general counsel for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, it “impacts even those communities that never reach binding arbitration, because it forces communities to enter into agreements they don’t want to, because they are so concerned about the cost.”
If the concern is the damage done by strikes and work-to-rule, Massachusetts shows the way by treating such practices as the hostile and immoral acts that they are and fining the teachers. In Rhode Island, we get this curious bit of intelligence:
“We decided to shift our position because the House leadership asked us to give them a piece of legislation that would bring finality to the question of what happens when there is no contract in place,” said Marcia Reback, RIFT executive director. “Given the question, the only mechanism that brings you finality is binding arbitration.”
So Rhode Island’s so-called representatives approached the union. A better characterization would probably be that the corruptocrats and unions are engaged in behind-the-scenes strategizing to lock in the unions’ current deals and ensure that they can never go down. The winds of public opinion are shifting, and Fox & Co. up at the State House are desperate to sell out their constituents in order to protect their parasitic pals in the teachers’ unions.