Caprio is Both For and Against Binding Arbitration (Depending Upon the Audience)
Randal Edgar reports in yesterday’s Providence Journal. Kudos to Ken Block for picking up on this.
In an interview last month with the head of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, gubernatorial candidate Frank T. Caprio responded with a quick “no, I do not” when asked if he favors binding arbitration to resolve teacher contract disputes.
Yet, when asked recently by the largest state employees union if he favors the practice for municipal and state employees, the Democratic candidate said yes.
Why did he answer differently to different audiences?
I’ve read it three times and I still don’t get the explanation:
The difference, said Caprio spokesman Nick Hemond, comes down to who is doing the negotiating. In the case of municipal contracts, the people negotiating on behalf of taxpayers would be the mayor or manager and the city or town council, who have ultimate responsibility for the entire municipal budget and the local tax rate. In the case of teacher contracts, the people negotiating on behalf of taxpayers — school superintendent and the school committee — do not have that control.
“It’s the mayor and the council who are going to have to deal with the results,” Hemond said. “If they can’t come to an agreement, they’re the party that can’t come to an agreement.”
An unsuccessful struggle to pierce such opaqueness inexorably drives one back to a more obvious though less flattering explanation:
I’m running for office and trying to secure as many votes as possible by telling constituencies what they want to hear. So I told cities and towns that I’m against binding arbitration because they oppose it and I told a public labor union that I’m for binding arbitration because public labor unions support it.