Everybody Wants Action

Everybody’s telling us to call our legislators. An email from the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition (RISC):

THE WORST SCENARIO IS NOW UPON US, AS RISC HAS WARNED. IF THERE WERE EVER A TIME TO PICK UP YOUR PHONE OR EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATOR, IT IS NOW!
THE LABOR UNIONS HAVE STRUCK A DEAL WITH HOUSE AND SENATE LABOR COMMITTEES TO PASS BINDING ARBITRATION.
HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:
Binding Arbitration means even more crushing property taxes…RHODE ISLANDERS ARE ALREADY HURTING WITH HIGH TAXES, BUT THIS UNION POWER GRAB WILL FORCE THEM FROM THEIR HOMES AND CAUSE FISCAL CHAOS IN OUR LOCAL CITIES AND TOWNS.
CALL TODAY AND SHOW UP AT THE STATE HOUSE TOMORROW! IF THIS PASSES, RI TAXPAYERS ARE TOAST. IT COULDN’T BE MORE SERIOUS.

Later, from Ken Block and the Moderate Party:

Binding arbitration is back – and the stakes are huge.
There could not be a worse time for our legislature to consider tieing the hands of local elected leaders by removing from their toolbox the ability to negotiate local labor contracts.
Binding arbitration places the responsibility for negotiating local labor contracts with an unelected third party. We can ill afford to allow an outsider to determine local tax rates, which is in effect what will happen if the expansion of binding arbitration is allowed to proceed.

In a sane polity — and I offer this as a suggestion to those who remain sane around here — any legislator who plays any role in advancing binding arbitration would be considered forever unelectable no matter what he or she might subsequently say or do. But this isn’t a sane polity; it’s Rhode Island, and if (as rumors suggest) Democrats and labor leaders exchanged a mere wince at the end of state-employee longevity payments for binding arbitration, then they’ve merely found another variation of the one-time fix.
With binding arbitration, your elected officials cease to be the ones with the final say on expenditures of your money confiscated via taxation. If this is the deal that’s been struck, then all Rhode Islanders for whom leaving is a realistic possibility should probably do so.
That conclusion comes, not the least, because only with the death of binding arbitration can there be considered to exist a glimmer of hope that the the state’s civic culture could right itself. If binding arbitration comes to be, the wave of groups — from RISC to the Moderate Party to the Ocean State Policy Research Institute (OSPRI) to the RIGOP to Anchor Rising — are no longer “reform groups,” but must be considered the voices of a subversive minority, fighting a rear-guard action mainly so that historians can report that some lone voices warned the state.

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Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

I hope it passes. After 76 straight years of electing the likes of Roberto Dasilva, Art Handy, Grace Diaz and the other motley members of “da party of da workin people” the people of this brain addled little state DESERVE to feel the sting of their actions.
I’m shopping for dirt cheap housing in Florida where a rightwing wacko rayzist homerphobe new governor and 2/3 Republican legislature just LOWERED that state’s already low property taxes.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

How does it feel, Rhode Island, to gaze into the face of death? You thought you knew what cold was. The Long Winter is coming.
It is the eve of financial Kristallnacht. Get out now. Save your families. Save yourselves. The state is lost.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

I sent out messages to both my representatives earlier urging them to vote for binding arbitration for teachers to assure us that there will be labor peace and a scheduled start to school for all our students. Enacting this legislation will make school committees think about doing the hard work of negotiating instead of political posturing and hiring pricey hired guns who seem to enjoy racking up billable hours that you and I end up paying.

Monique
Monique(@monique-chartier)
Editor
10 years ago

“da party of da workin people”
Yes. The party of certain select working people, anyway.

stuckhereinri
stuckhereinri
10 years ago

A friend of mine keeps saying that it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better… well I guess we’re headed in the ‘right’ direction… i.e. it’s still getting worse.
So what ever happened to that 1 cent an ounce soda tax?

Ben Golum
Ben Golum
10 years ago

There is no doubt in my mind that binding arbitration will pass both houses tomorrow and a triumphant Governor will sign it into law. I have always believed that change in RI would only come when there was widespread “pain”. The Dems and Unions have done a brilliant job of building their worker utopia for a selected few. This might well be both of their high water marks. With the fall of Central Falls, Woonsocket, West Warwick and Pawtucket, the ship of State that was RI will quickly break apart. RI, misery, taxes and insanity. Change the state motto to “Hopeless.”
It is time to go “guerrilla” and spoil their little party. This is what I have done for much of the last two years…
1) No large purchases in RI, buy CT, MA or anywhere but here, unless the business is not a friend of the Dems or the Unions. If RI businesses don’t come out against this non-sense, consider them not worthy of your money.
2) Boycott known Dem and Union businesses. Warwick Mall (Aram Garabedian) Venda Ravioli (Consentino) Gem Plumbing and Mediapeal (Gemma)
Add to this list!
3) Target local Dems and drive them out of office.
4) Bleed the pig that is RI dry of tax revenue…run their engine out of oil. The State no longer belongs to YOU.
5) Boycott URI, RIC, CCRI… send you kids elsewhere.
6) Do everything that is legal and possible to hasten the demise of the local economy.
It is all about money. It always is. Throw a log on the fire the General Assembly has started. From the ashes, we can build another day.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“I sent out messages to both my representatives earlier urging them to vote for binding arbitration”
Phil – For the sake of your soul I hope your support of binding arbitration is due to a simple lack of understanding of how the process works in reality. As somebody who is familiar, let me tell you that binding arbitration nothing more than a corrupt, self-dealing fraud scheme that hastens the end of any society sick enough to make it law. The selection process ensures that any arbitrator who rules their conscience will never work again – the entire system is set up to see that justice is never achieved. It is the polar opposite of neutrality.

stuckhereinri
stuckhereinri
10 years ago

My favorite quote from the movie “Good Fellas” comes to mind…
“Business bad? eff you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? eff you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? eff you, pay me.”
It’s the old ‘FYPM’ cash flow model…
economy is terrible?, #$f you pay me. Tax revenue down? #$f you pay me.
Your town/city is flat broke, #$f you pay me ( or give me my raise and/or C.O.L.A… and don’t forget the OPEBs..[cute name huh?]).
I can’t wait for my quarterly property tax bill to be $1500 (and I live in a very modest home). Nevermind the increasing/expanding sales tax, the fact that the state is intentionally OVER withholding on state income tax.
Just shut up and pay people, we’re getting what we deserve for living in a state controlled by one party for the last 50+ years ( and when I say ‘we’ I mean the collective population of RI ).
Please someone tell me how this law will NOT increase the cost of public education, please…

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

If this passes, stick a fork in Rhode Island.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“Enacting this legislation will make school committees think about doing the hard work of negotiating”
No it won’t. It’ll do the opposite. It’ll make the union not want to negotiate and simply go to arbitration. That being the case, towns should save their money on lawyers and not negotiate either. So what we’re going to be left with is a bunch of arbitration cases being heard in late-August or early September with lots of labor strife with the teachers.
If you want school to start on time with labor peace, make one change. All teacher contracts end June 30. Then we’ll see some negotiating and school starting on time.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

If you want school to start on time with labor peace, make one change. All teacher contracts end June 30. Then we’ll see some negotiating and school starting on time.
Posted by Patrick at June 29, 2011 8:38 AM
I agree that having more time to work on writing a new contract would not hurt. Patrick , I don’t think that either side would hope for having items in a contract imposed by an arbitrator. Hopefully both sides do the hard work in avoiding that situation. I still think that there needs to be a way to move forward when an impasse cannot be overcome. Labor peace means stability and concentration on teaching students instead of walking picket lines.

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