“It’s an abuse of power”
“It’s an abuse of power,” said Frank Flynn, President of the RI Federation of Teachers (RIFT?).
He’s referring to a situation in Woonsocket where the school committee gave notice to all school department employees that they could be laid off this year, similar to what Providence did last year.
Now, I agree that it is silly to do this to 100% of your workforce. We all know that Woonsocket will have schools next year and they will need teachers, so why all of them? There is a minimum they will need, so why not only notify the remainder?
That being said, I find the Flynn’s comment pretty funny. Why is it that when the unions exercise their rights to the full extent of the law, they’re just “playing by the rules” but when the school committee does the same, “it’s an abuse of power”?
What makes this even more egregious is Flynn and others, like Deborah Gist don’t like the March 1 deadline for these notices. They complain about how it hurts the morale of the teachers and causes so much stress right in the middle of the school year. However, it was the teachers’ unions who requested this date so the affected teachers could have plenty of time to figure out how to go forward and start looking for a new job.
And, it could have been prevented.
Projo writer Jennifer Jordan also explains:
Last year, teachers’ unions lobbied for the General Assembly to pass binding arbitration for teachers, saying if they gained that power, the notification deadline could be moved back. The Senate passed the measure, but it failed in the House and the deadline remained March 1
The part that gets me is “could be moved back”. What? Does the General Assembly need the unions’ approval to pass a law? Jordan implies that this stress that the Woonsocket teachers are now feeling could have been resolved, but their own union heads prevented that from happening? Teachers, were you aware of this? Are the teachers’ union lobbyists always working for the best interests of their members at the State House? In this instance, it sounds like that answer is “no”.