What does  Rhode Island General Law (RIGL) 28-14-3.1 say?

whenever any employer provides for a payroll deduction for any purpose, the employer shall transfer those funds deducted to the appropriate person, agency, partnership, or corporation entitled to the money deducted

So what does that lawyer-speak actually say?  It basically says that all union dues must be automatically deducted from its members paychecks and sent to the union.

That’s an interesting law, wouldn’t you say?  Not only is Rhode Island a “closed shop” and not a “right to work” state, but when you take a job and become a part of the union, your dues are withdrawn from your paycheck before you even see your money.  You have no choice.

So there must be some benefit, some advantage to being in the union.  Of course there is!  And more!

All of that sounds so awesome.  So beneficial.  So if it is so great, why don’t I have the option to 1) not be a member and 2) pay my own dues?

I’m a member of some professional organizations and some clubs.  Let’s take the YMCA for example.  They don’t require payroll deduction.  They do offer a voluntary bank withdrawal, but I choose to sign up for that and can end it at any time.  I can also mail a check each month or even walk in to my Y branch and pay them in cash each month.  I value their service and the benefits that I receive by being a member and paying my dues there each month.  If I don’t pay my dues, I’ll no longer be eligible for the benefits I receive.  So I continue to pay it.

Why isn’t it the same for unions?  If they’re so great and so beneficial to people, then why is their money taken before they even have access to it.  Let’s drop this law and let the union members pay their dues themselves.  Or at least make the payroll deduction optional.   Why force it?

Unless the union leadership is afraid that its members don’t really value their services and fear the withholding of dues by its members!  *gasp*


Is there anything more self-serving and embarrassing than Alisha Pina’s article today about her frustration in trying to get answers from David Cicilline. Providence is royally screwed up financially, in spite of then-Congressional candidate Cicilline telling us that the city had a balanced budget and all funds were fully stocked and the city was meeting its financial obligations. Now we see that wasn’t quite true.

Where was the ProJo for the last 4-5 years to sort through the finances of the city? Why weren’t they right in there and checking the facts and confirming the assertions?

What makes this worse is that at election time, a city auditor was telling us all this information. Did the ProJo follow up on the claims then and hold Cicilline’s feet to the fire? No. Instead they endorsed him in his campaign for Congress.

So now, should they be surprised when they get stuttering and stonewalling from the Congressman’s press secretary?

Isn’t this the responsiblity of the Fourth Estate? Be skeptical, don’t trust, get facts. The ProJo definitely shirked its responsibility to its readers. They were told two very different stories back in October. One by a slick-talking known politician who always smiled and had time for the reporters. And then some auditor that seemingly had an ax to grind. They simply took Cicilline’s word for it, didn’t dig any deeper and slapped their endorsement on his campaign.

Now they want to dig in? Too little, too late, ProJo.

I don’t know why I continue to read stories about union protests in this state anymore.  They’re simply rhetoric and hate and a total lack of education of a problem.  Ironic though that the problem is a lack of education when it comes to those in the teaching profession.  Let’s take a look at some of the quotes from yesterday’s teacher rally in Providence, and ask each one the same question, “What would you do to fix the problem?”

Let’s start with Randi Weingarten, the head of AFT:

“Something is insane in Providence,” Weingarten said, standing on the steps of City Hall. “On a week where teachers and students were taking a well-deserved break, a secret plan was being hatched in Providence. They thought no one would be there to hear it.”

Right.  I’m sure that Angel Taveras had this planned out all along.  He waited until one of those weeks off that teachers get during the year to inform them of his diabolical plan.   Why did he do this so early in the year?  Why in February?  It’s state law.  It’s a state law that the unions asked for, so their people would have about six months to potentially look for a new job.  You asked for it!

Fire everyone — that was their plan.

This is one of the main things that bother me about unions.  They stand up there at their rallies and spread lies.  Taveras has said time and time again, that not everyone will be fired and not a single person has been fired yet.  Everyone was simply given a notice that they could be fired at a later date.  However the vast majority will be back on the job later.

Oh yeah and Randi?  What solution do you have to helping plug the $70M deficit that David Cicilline left the city in?  Nothing?  Ok, thanks.

“This is dismantling the progress that the work force has made in the past 100 years,” said Trish McGovern, a Cranston teacher.

ASTROTURF!! The progressives and the left often loved to scream about astroturfing going on during the last election cycle.  They’re not real protesters, they’s say.  A protester with no skin in the game?  Astroturfer!

“It’s about the rights of the normal working person,” said William Louis, a union member from Groton, Conn. “We bailed out the banks and the CEOs. Let’s go after their bonuses.”

Groton, CT?  Another Astroturfer.  Is anyone at this protest from Providence?  That aside, the guy has a point.  Billions were paid out to save the banks, but the intent there was to protect the little homeowner, especially the ones on the bubble of losing their home.  However in their infinite wisdom, Congress handed out those billions with very few strings attached.  Don’t want to actually put that money back to work?  Ok, no problem, Congress said, just vote for me again.  If you don’t like those TARP votes from Congress, then vote those people out of office.  Yet Reed, Whitehouse and Langevin have persisted.  As for the issue at hand, that’s a federal issue, here we’re talking about city (not even state!) issue.  Apples and oranges.  Isn’t it ironic that in the list above, of our Washington delegation, I left out the fourth, Cicilline, who actually created this whole mess?

“What did we do wrong?” said another.

The one that actually does have a point.  What’d the individual teachers do wrong to get fired?  Actually, nothing.  But that’s the way things work in any business.  When revenues are down or you’re running a deficit, cuts have to be made.   People have been getting laid off from their jobs for the last 2-3 years.  What’d they do wrong?  Nothing.  I know it’s not good, but that’s where we are.

However, where were the signs with solutions?  How would you fix a $70M deficit?  Other than the non-sequitur offer to go after Wall Street, there were none.

Weingarten’s tone was harsh: “Mass firings don’t fix the budget. They say, ‘This is a city that doesn’t care about schools.’  ”

Ugh.  Straight up union thuggery.

“You agreed to a labor-management collaborative,” George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, told the crowd. “You agreed to Race to the Top. And it got you fired. Mr. Mayor, support collective bargaining. Let’s not go down the road with Wisconsin.”

Huh?  What does Race to the Top have to do with this?  Why are these people allowed to spread these kind of lies.  “The Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs last year and it got the teachers fired!”  “It was cloudy Saturday and it got the teachers fired!” “A butterfly flapped its wings in China and it got the teachers fired!”  Each one is just as correct as George’s statement.  The reason that notices were sent out, not teachers actually fired, was because David Cicilline left the city with a $70M budget hole that needs to be closed.  It won’t be done completely on the backs of teachers, but when the school department is running a major deficit, cuts will need to be made.  And George, what does this have to do with collective bargaining?  It seems that Taveras is following the contract perfectly.  That’s what collective bargaining is about, right?  Or does it only work when it’s on your side?  The difference between Providence and Wisconsin is night and day.  But I guess we won’t let the truth get in the way of a good George Nee rant.

Why does anyone listen to these people at all?


So the Providence teachers are upset that they all got termination, not layoff, notices yesterday.  And they have no idea why.

One teacher said she feels “disrespected”.  Why?  The city is merely following the law.  According to the law and the teachers’ contract, the school board must notify any teacher by March 1 if their job could be in jeopardy.  Who asked for that?  The teachers’ union.  They wanted enough notice to begin looking for another job.  Six months isn’t enough notice?  Guess how much time most of us in the public sector get usually.  Zero.

Hey yeah, come in to my office please.  We’re facing some cutbacks and laying you off.  Please hand over your office ID card and you can pick up your personal belongings.  This security officer will escort you to your car.  Thank you for your service.

That’s how it works in the private sector.  In the public sector, you get six months notice, and even then, you could still get your job back.  Many of the nearly 2,000 teachers in Providence will get their jobs back.  Is Providence going to have a school system next year?  Of course.  So they will need teachers.  So some will need to be hired back.

Oh, but this is a termination, not a layoff, so seniority rules may not apply.  Yeah, so?  Who says seniority makes you a better teacher?  Have you ever heard of any non-union company getting rid of their best employees just for the heck of it?  Of course not.  So any good, hard-working teachers have nothing to fear.  It’s the slackers and coasters who might have something to worry about.

It’s not fair, they’re going to terminate all the top-step teachers just to save money.  Again, yeah, so?  You don’t think that happens in private industry?  You’re not pulling your weight and you make a lot of money?  Bye bye.  If you’re a great teacher, even at top-step rates, you’re not overpaid, so there should be no worries there.  Any great teachers should be retained.  Any slackers should be cut.  That’s the bottom line.  That’s how it works in the private sector and it sounds like that’s how it may work in Providence.


Did you ever think you’d see a headline like that?  Pawtucket, Rhode Island was chosen for a small business because it is “more profitable and secure”.  I’m sure this is something that Mayor Grebien would be quite proud of, right?  Well, no.

What is this small business?  It may not be all that small as it is an international fraudulent document trafficking organization, according to the Providence Journal.

Ok, so there’s a place where you can get your fake social security cards, your fake drivers’ license (heck, you used to be able to get that at the RI DMV), your fake green card.  But what really sticks out in the article was this section:

Pawtucket and other cities in the network were selected targeted as “more profitable and secure,” based on such criteria as “the amount of competition, profitability, law enforcement-presence and potential client base comprising illegal aliens.”

Just like any smart businessman, Cruz Millan, the head of this whole organization found the area where he’d find the most business and people most receptive to his product.  Right here in Rhode Island.   Targeted marketing in the heart of his customer base.  Business 101.

I wonder was Steven Pare and Angel Taveras are thinking of this in light of them wanting to opt out of the “Secure Communities“.  I’m sure this made Mr. Millan quite happy to hear that the capital city wasn’t going to be looking out for his customer base.  But hey if you listen to the progressives, we don’t have an illegal immigrant problem in Rhode Island.  We even have Grace Diaz and Juan Pichardo wanting to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.  Wouldn’t it just be easier for them to spend the $200 with an operation like Millan’s and simply become a US citizen, at least on paper?

We often hear that many of the laws, or the fact that many laws are not enforced leads to illegal immigrants being attracted to Rhode Island.  That’s baloney, says the left.  It’s great to have yet another concrete example of why immigration law needs to be enforced at all levels.

Laws are laws.  Enforce them or remove them.

So the word went out on Monday.  The Rhode Island labor leaders would be having a protest under the rotunda at the RI State House.  There are no current contract negotiations with the state’s unions, there are no bills in the Assembly to limit their collective bargaining power and none of them have been wronged lately.  So what’s got the bee in their bonnet?


Really?  What do these people have about protesting?  Do they just live for it or was I just dropped into the set of PCU?    What’s next, have a protest that you want to protest?  This sounds an awful lot like some people trying to justify their own existence and very large salaries.

The other part I found interesting was the timing.  Have a protest at the State House at 4:30 pm on a Tuesday.  What time did people have to leave work to get there for 4:30?  I guess it depends on what part of the state you’re coming from, but I know from personal experience, at that time of the day, traffic isn’t moving too quickly.  To get into Providence from the northern part of the state can easily take 30-45 minutes.  What kind of job lets you leave between 3:30 and 4 pm to go to a protest about nothing?

Oh that’s right, a state union job.

FAILFirst there was Wisconsin and now Indiana.  Not just budget troubles or just anti-union governors, but instead we have Democrats who choose to run instead of doing their job.  Both state legislatures are facing a stalemate where the Republican-controlled legislatures are looking to pass some tough new laws curbing the rights of public sector unions.

In both cases, the Republicans carry enough of a majority and the Governor’s seat, to pass any laws they want.  The only problem is there aren’t enough of them to achieve a quorum without the Democrats being present.  The Democrats say they will not return unless the Republicans are willing to back off their demands to gut the strength of the public employee unions.  The Republicans feel that they’re doing the work of the people who elected them.  To the victor go the spoils.

As such, we’ve landed in this stalemate.

Is this really how the Democrats think they’re best serving their state?  Run away when things get tough?  Effectively shutting down the state legislature?  Is this what they were elected to do?

Maybe the funniest/saddest part of this is as the Democratic “leaders” run away and out of state, the protesters are piling in.  And not just protesters, but often Astroturfers as well.  People from out of state being brought in to protest.   State legislators run out, protesters run in.

We see this “to the victor go the spoils” year after year.  The Democrats have dominated the State House for many years and currently enjoy such a majority that they can have a quorum or even a very well attended parade without any Republicans at all, if they chose to go that route.

Why should Republicans in Wisconsin and Indiana agree to negotiate with the Democrats?  The Republicans have the numbers, they have the majority, that’s how government works, no?  Is the majority supposed to negotiate with the minority?  If so, we certainly don’t see much of that here in Rhode Island.  The Democrats and their leadership have been able to ram through any legislation they choose, and now with a more agreeable Governor in Linc Chafee, they’ll have an even easier time getting new bills through.

How would I solve the issues with the vacant Democrats in those other states?  First, I would see if there’s any way a judge could hold the Dems in contempt.  To the point that when they do return, they’re serving jail time.  Yes, let them sit in a jail for not doing their job.

If there’s no way to do this or no judge would issue such an order, just go ahead with the business anyway, without the quorum.  Let the Democrats stay away forever.  Pass the bill, have the Governor sign it into law and enact it.  Let the Democrats come back to fight it.  As soon as one steps back in the state or the State House, call the quorum.

Strange times indeed.