Regionalization Won’t Make the Unions Go Away… Quite the Opposite
Somehow, this strikes me as a preview of the “benefits” of regionalization in Rhode Island:
Just hours after he closed the Douglas Avenue fire station, Mayor Charles A. Lombardi ran into a legal stumbling block from the firefighters union Wednesday afternoon and he agreed to temporarily reopen the station. …
Firefighters want [Providence County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey] Lanphear to keep Lombardi from shutting down the station and reassigning personnel, about 12 employees, to three other stations in town.
Note that this wasn’t even about eliminating positions — just moving work locations. The only savings that regionalization might promise, in such instances, is to spread out the cost of lawyers for participating towns and cities. Of course, the whole point of regionalization is to instigate this sort of change, so municipalities would be sharing an increased expense.
Prior to any regionalization efforts, towns and cities will have to begin asserting themselves in contract negotiations to regain management rights. My suspicion is that, once they’ve taken such a step, regionalization will look like far less of a panacea, because the situation would have already improved dramatically.