RI cities and towns and their respective school committees won a big victory yesterday when a RI Superior Court judge ruled for the East Providence school committee over the city's teachers union. The judge affirmed the EP school committee's right to impose pay cuts and a hike in teacher healthcare insurance premiums outside an active contract and in the special circumstance of financial hardship on the city's part - EP is facing a serious financial shortfall in the order of $4 million.
This decision is part of an unmistakable trend against teacher unions and excessive contract obligations on cities and towns that have seen their revenues plummet in this recession.
Whether the EP teachers union wants to take the case to the RI Supreme Court remains to be seen - or attempt a legislative manuever and have a law passed that would bypass the school committee's actions in this case or any other. Teacher unions don't give up easily so there may be more coming on this front, but for now the school committe's actions were deemed lawful and necessary and that's a good thing.