The Sign of Leadership
Last week, the RI House Labor Committee reviewed two bills:
In both cases, the views were sharply divided, with labor supporting and cities and towns opposing a bill that would allow municipal employee collective-bargaining contract terms to continue after a contract expires and also allow monetary issues in those contracts to be decided in binding arbitration.
The positions were reversed on the prevailing wage bill, with cities and towns supporting and labor opposing a change that would raise the threshold at which the state and municipalities must pay prevailing wages from jobs costing more than $1,000 — a figure set decades ago — to those costing more than $500,000.
The latter bill would have allowed local governments to hire labor at the actual prevailing wage — that which the market had determined for a particular occupation and which most purchasers of the particular service (those not subject to union political pressure) typically pay. The former bill would have been a marker of the end of Rhode Island.
Of course, the article ends with that marker of Rhode Island leadership:
The committee held both bills for further study.
And so, we’ll stagger along, neither improving our civic circumstances nor opting for a quick death. Perhaps the state should change its motto to “held for further study.”