Binding Arbitration & Tuesday’s Special Election Candidates

I have tended to avoid the written-questionnaire format for interviews of political candidates and officeholders, because the ratio of informative-answers-from-the-candidate-himself-or-herself to canned-answers-written-by-committee can often be less than optimal. Or it could be that I’m just bad at writing questionnaires, as RIFuture‘s Brian Hull has been able to get substantive answers to some very good questions that he put via questionnaire to the candidates in the General Assembly District 10 (Providence) special election to be held this Tuesday.
In particular, Republican candidate Maurice Green gave as unambiguous an answer as you’ll ever hear — in a political context or elsewhere — on the subject of binding arbitration…

Question: With persistent negotiations between cities and towns and teachers unions often failing to reach agreements, do you support or oppose binding arbitration legislation?
Maurice Green: I have been employed with the Providence Police Department for over 20 years, which makes me an active union member with the Fraternal Order of Police. And as such, I have personally benefited from binding arbitration on many occasions. However, I vehemently disagree with binding arbitration, because of the adverse effects it has on our citizens. Property taxes increase when cities lose binding arbitration decisions. Clearly, my personal gain is short lived if the state is in the tank, and the community’s property taxes are driven out of control.
In contrast, Democrat Scott Slater expressed his support for stripping local government officials of final decision making authority over a large portion of their municipal budgets, as long as an arbitrator is working through a “fair” process…
Scott Slater: I acknowledge that the current system we have in place is dysfunctional and I believe that a binding arbitration model is needed. I think that binding arbitration could provide an effective solution to labor and management contract disputes. As of now, progress has been made on a legislative proposal to provide resolution to failed negotiations. As a state representative, I will work to have a fair piece of legislation to protect our children’s education,
…and Independent Wilbur Jennings opposed binding arbitration because teachers might not like it (begging the question of whether he’ll change his position, if he finds out that both of Rhode Island’s teachers’ unions are in favor of it)…
Wilbur Jennings: I am not in favor of binding arbitration, because you cannot make the teachers sign a contract they deem unfair. If you force a contract on these professional, you will have an unhappy workforce and that will not be good for the teachers, students, or taxpayers.
This is an important issue, not just for District 10, but for all of Rhode Island’s upcoming elections, Governor’s race included. Which candidates running in 2010 will be supporting the legislature’s attempts to impose non-democratic budgeting on all of Rhode Island’s cities and towns, and which will be supporting having accountable officials make final decisions for their communities?
And who will be able to meet the Green standard, in terms of making their position on this matter clear?
The rest of the RI Future questionnaire is available here.

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11 years ago

Is it just me, or does Jennings’ answer as printed sound like it was given by a 4th grader?
I would think that Mo and Dave Talan can be using this issue pretty strongly with their phone banks when they call people to let them know the difference in opinion on this issue, and try to quickly educate the voters on what it means.

Matt Jerzyk
Matt Jerzyk
11 years ago

It’s nice to see all three candidates – including the Republican – supporting Rep. Diaz’s bill for instate tuition for immigrant students.

11 years ago

There you go again Matt, muddying the waters. I don’t think anyone, Terry Gorman included, has a problem with in-state immigrants getting in-state tuition. It’s the ILLEGAL immigrants that I and I think others have problems with getting in-state tuition.
Huge difference there. “immigrant” is someone who is here legally, trying to do things the right way, by the law. “illegal immigrants” are not.
Unfortunately, many miss the nuance of your argument.

Matt Jerzyk
Matt Jerzyk
11 years ago

Umm… Patrick. Maybe you should read the bill. That being said, I am STILL glad to see all 3 candidates – including the Republican – supporting Rep. Diaz’s bill.

11 years ago

Oh yeah, this provision:
“(iv) In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, has filed with the
17 institution of higher education an affidavit stating that the student has filed an application to
18 legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to
19 do so.”
aka the “Wimpy” provision. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Sure, I’ll fill out any form you like to get a much cheaper college education. How about a provision for repayment if the student does not follow through on legalizing their status?
And seeing as that college students are generally 18 and older, thus adults, if someone did fill out this affadavit, admitting they were in this country illegally and seeking to receive something that there are thousands of other students sitting in foreign countries, trying to do legally but unable to, why wouldn’t we immediately deport this person filling out the affadavit, since he/she is actually breaking the law?

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