BREAKING: The Permanent Contract is Still Alive in the Legislature

Following a comment from “Madmom”, I checked the General Assembly’s official online calendar, and found this…

Senate Bill No.713
BY Perry, Levesque C, McCaffrey, Miller, Sosnowski
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS – CERTIFIED SCHOOL TEACHERS ARBITRATION
(would amend section 28-9.3-9 to provide that if a successor collective bargaining agreement has not been agreed to by the parties)
{LC1814/1}
02/26/2009 Introduced, referred to Senate Labor
04/01/2009 Scheduled for hearing
04/01/2009 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
06/03/2009 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
06/03/2009 Committee recommends passage
06/04/2009 Placed on Senate Calendar
06/11/2009 Senate read and passed
06/16/2009 Referred to House Labor
06/25/2009 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
06/25/2009 Committee recommends passage in concurrence
06/25/2009 Placed on House Calendar
10/29/2009 Placed on House Calendar
Total Bills:1
Legislative Data System Room 1 10/29/2009
State House, Providence, Rhode Island 10:06 AM
This is not the binding arbitration bill, but the bill that says that expired contracts remain in force, if no new agreement is reached. The verbiage added to state law is…
(f) In the event that a successor collective bargaining agreement has not been agreed to by the parties, then the existing contract shall continue in effect until such time as an agreement has been reached between the parties.

CONTINUING…
Speculation: The argument you will hear made in support of this bill is that the legislature needs to freeze everything as is, while it figures out how to create new rules for cities and towns, new rules intended to limit the decision making authority of the democratically elected local governments on local budgets. (Of course, you won’t hear this last part in any of the “we temporarily need permanent contracts” arguments I suspect will be heard today. Also, remember that even if this is pitched as a “temporary” fix, temporary permanent contracts are likely to last “only” as long as the temporary increase in Rhode Island’s sales tax passed 20 years ago and still going strong has lasted).
The people need to take a direct message to the legislature: Fix your own fiscal mess first, before you even begin to consider extraordinary measures like stripping locally elected officials of the authority to make meaningful fiscal decisions for their communities. Don’t deny local representatives of the people the ability to decide how to spend the people’s money on local matters.
AND FINALLY (FOR NOW)…
No matter what trickery the legislature attempts with this bill, today is not the end of this matter. This bill will certainly be vetoed by the Governor, meaning that another session will be necessary for a veto-override. This does not mean that people can afford to wait to express their opposition on this matter beginning right now, but as we head into the 2010 elections, every candidate for General Assembly needs to be asked to explain to what degree they believe that state-authorized unelected arbitrators and permanent contracts should be allowed to override the power of elected officials, when it comes to making the best decisions for their cities and towns.

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Madmom
Madmom
11 years ago

EVERY member of the legislature received binders with letters and resolutions addressing the overwhelming opposition by the majority of school committees, town councils, and reform groups to perpetual contracts AND binding arbitration yesterday. The GA cannot plead ignorance to the will of the taxpayers and local elected officials on this one.
I guess we’ll soon find out if they care.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

So endless contracts have reared their ugly heads again.
I wonder if this is an attempt to make binding arbitration look reasonable in view of the unexpected backlash against it.
“Well, ALL right, we won’t do perpetual contracts. Let’s compromise on binding arbitration.”
The hitch, of course, is that binding arbitration, which does not and will not ratchet back contract terms advantageous to the public labor union, effectively IS an endless contract.

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