One thing that must be said about public sector unions is that they keep their eyes on the ball, especially when it comes to those legislators who carry their water for them. Case in point: in the last legislative session the union-sponsored binding arbitration bill was passed over, but that doesn't mean it died. Nope. It's come back again, and get this: sponsored by a Republican!
House Bill H7581 is being co-sponsord by East Providence Republican (and Deputy Minority Leader) John Savage. How can a Republican believe that it's a good thing for school unions to have recourse to binding arbitration? I don't get it - is that what Townie voters wanted when they elected a Republican?
This bill is aimed squarely at the East Providence School Committee, which last year took the courageous step of ignoring the lapsed contract and reduced teacher salaries and imposed higher health care co-pays - all in the name of saving the city from bankruptcy. Naturally, the union has taken the city to court and the case is currently before the RI Superior Court. This case is a big deal for cities and towns throughout the state that need to get an upper hand on militant teacher unions.
This a bad bill and needs to be defeated. It is designed to go around the court case, should the union lose, and make binding arbitration enforceable by state law.