Re: Is a New Way for Labor to Limit the Options
Turning on my home computer after a weekend on the road, I was relieved and concerned to see the legislative bomb that Andrew has spotted. Relieved that we’ve come across this in time to shine some light. Concerned because I recall glancing at these bills back when they were on the agenda and making the conscious determination that I didn’t have time to sort through them for pluses and minuses; the reform movement, in Rhode Island, really has to find some way to finance folks who’ll take it upon themselves to comb proposed laws for this sort of thing.
Having reviewed the language, I’d add one more reason that legislators who refuse to let the veto stand should face a heavy political cost. Note this language in the House version:
… School district employees whose collective bargaining agreements expire on or after July 1, 2010 shall, upon expiration of such collective bargaining agreements, receive benefit plans authorized in accordance with chapter 27-72. …
Upon implementation of the uniform health care benefit plan designs or at such other time as specified herein or as specified in sections 28-9-3.2 and 28-9.4-3, all public school districts and charter schools shall implement one or more benefit plan design(s) authorized in accordance with this chapter.
Not only does this law place any healthcare benefits in the hands of a union-dominated board accountable only to union members, it mandates that schools must offer them. Whether there’s a feasible public or private alternative or schools just can’t afford healthcare benefits anymore, they’ll have to provide them. And not only union schools, but charter schools, as well. Once again, the sinking ship of state reveals the rats trying to shore up all that they can, rather than helping to keep the vessel afloat.
Again, now that it’s been vetoed and noticed, any legislator who helps to make this a law should find him or her self out of office at the earliest opportunity.
We can also take this legislation as evidence that reformers must be very, very careful about any budgetary or developmental strategy that calls for consolidation.