Coincidence or Cause? SK Teachers Union Returns to Table When Binding Arbitration is Taken Off It

Let’s not allow this little turn of events to go unnoticed as we transition from the crazy last days of the legislative session to a lovely, hazy summer.
South Kingstown’s teacher contract expires in August; accordingly, the School Committee and the NEA-SK have been working on a contract renewal. When binding arbitration got cranked up towards the end of the GA’s 2011, however, and there was a distinct possibility it was going to get passed, the union cancelled three meetings with the School Committee.
We need to pause here to note that one of South Kingstown’s legislators – Senator Sue Sosnowski – took the opportunity to helpfully point out how this turn of events demonstrated the “need” for binding arbitration.

We have a disaster in town, and I was hoping we’d have something like this that would help the situation.
Sosnowski is referring to a dispute over the South Kingstown teachers contract, which expires Aug. 30.

That’s interesting because no South Kingstown official agrees with her that binding arbitration would “help the situation”. In fact, both the Town Council and the School Committee, along with most (all?) other councils and committees around the state, signed resolutions in opposition to its passage.
Fortunately, they, rather than the senator from District 37, got their way when the House refused to follow the Senate over the cliff. Binding arbitration was dead, at least for this session.
And lo and behold, the NEA-SK has returned to the bargaining table.
Causation or curious timing? We report; you decide.

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Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Binding arbitration would help the union alright. Help them to fat pay increases for the rest of their natural lives.
That’s the thing about laws though – you can try them again and again and again until they finally pass. And once they pass, you can never get rid of them.

riborn
riborn
10 years ago

Is there a lack of communication between Senator Sosnowski and the local Council and School Committee? How else would she conclude that there was a disaster and the binding arbitration law would help? Did she understand what it would do? Or perhaps her definition of “disaster” was different then the taxpayers’ definition of disaster.
Very disappointing that one.

Nirad
Nirad
10 years ago

Binding arbitration has nothing to do with this dispute. The teachers of South Kingstown are being are being used as a nice little test case for the rest of the districts in this state to follow regarding the BEP. This is not about money. It is about power – removing the power of the voice of teachers to speak for students. It is being rammed down the throat of the SK school committee. If you’re really concerned about government over-stepping its role, you might want to start asking who is behind the movement in our state to remove the voice of teachers from education. Again, this is NOT about money for teachers. Every bargaining unit in this state knows there will be pay freezes and co-pay increases and pesion reductions. There is a money trail, however. And it doesn’t lead to the pockets of educators. Were does the money trail end up? No place that benefits kids – but there is money to be made by refusing to allow those that educate to insert common sense ito the policies that are now being implemented in our state. What is there to be gained by demoralizing a group of educators who continue to go above and beyond for students year after year? The answer is quite clear. The message we are to take from this is that no district, no matter how excellent their record, will be allowed to maintain ANY independence. Even if everything that district is doing is working FOR KIDS. It is bullying and fear-mongering and it is working.

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