ENews: July 5, 2018

Excellent Commentary piece in Monday’s Providence Journal by Frank J. Flynn, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.  

Providence Journal: My Turn: Francis J. Flynn: No need to change teacher seniority

In his June 10 Commentary piece (“Uninspired teachers hurt R.I. students”), Portsmouth teacher Michael Marra criticized the effects of teacher tenure and seniority. As president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, I find that Mr. Marra’s remarks are uninformed and misdirected.

Rhode Island General Law §16-2-11 confers on the superintendent of each school district the “care and supervision of public schools” and “the appointment of employees of the district.” In fact, no teachers’ union official in Rhode Island has ever had the authority to hire or terminate a single teacher. -READ MORE

Teamsters: Teamsters Local 251 DHLNH Workers Ratify First Contract

(EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – By standing together, Teamsters Local 251 members at DHLNH fought and won a first contract that demonstrates the power of a union.

“This is a strong first contract for workers willing to fight for one,” says Matt Maini, Teamsters Local 251 Business Agent. “These brave workers went on strike for nine weeks and demanded the respect that they deserve.”

Since joining Teamsters Local 251 in June 2017, DHLNH workers have seen big improvements. Upon ratification of the contract, workers will receive over 13 percent increases in starting wages, over 15 percent increases in average wages and six percent increases in wages the remaining three years. The group will also see over a 70 percent increase in company contributions toward healthcare. Other strong improvements include:

  • Paid sick time;
  • Increased vacation time;
  • More paid holidays;
  • Double time on Sundays;
  • Seniority;
  • Job bidding;
  • Safety protections;
  • Paid sick time, discipline and grievance and arbitration to address concerns.


Providence Journal Editorial: Time to fix R.I.’s Schools


No session of the General Assembly ends with a perfect record, but the 2018 session did produce some victories, and one of them was the approval of a plan that could finally provide some of the money needed to fix Rhode Island’s public school buildings.

These buildings, as a study revealed last year, fall short by many measures. There are heating and lighting concerns, there are educational concerns, there are safety concerns.

According to last year’s study, addressing all the serious deficiencies would cost $2.2 billion, and just making the buildings warm, safe and dry would cost $628 million.

The plan, which now goes before voters on the November ballot, will not address all of these concerns.

If approved by voters, it would allow the state to borrow $250 million, which would go to cities and towns that choose to participate and contribute to the costs. Then, if all goes as planned, a second $250 million bond would go before voters in 2022. -READ MORE

Washington Post: Despite setbacks and high court’s ruling, unions show spark

Their membership has been declining for decades. They’ve been bedeviled by crippling new laws, and by a devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision just this week. From all appearances, it would seem that labor unions are an endangered species.

But here’s the surprise: Organized labor is showing new signs of life.

Last year, labor netted 262,000 new recruits. The movement notched several high-profile wins this spring, organizing 5,000 teaching assistants and graduate students at Harvard and winning an election in a small unit at Boeing in South Carolina, the state with the lowest union density in the nation.


Fair Warning: Study Links Declining Union Strength to More Workplace Deaths

(Photo by Charles Evans Jr.)

It’s no secret that the waning power of American unions has contributed to stagnant wages. But a new study suggests that this trend hasn’t affected just worker income. It also may have cost thousands of lives.

The portion of the U.S. work force covered by unions has fallen for decades, and the labor movement suffered another major setback Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down public-employee contracts requiring workers to pay union dues.

The new study focuses in particular on the extent to which state “right to work” laws – which barred mandatory union dues for non-union members even before Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling — translate into more workplace deaths. Using mathematical modeling techniques, the study found that the rate of job-related deaths among U.S. workers from 1992 through 2016 was 14.2 percent higher than it would have been if union membership had not been undercut by right to work laws.

That equated to roughly 7,300 extra workplace deaths over the 25-year period, according to author of the analysis, Michael Zoorob. -READ MORE

WBZ /CBS Boston: Steven Tolman, President of th Massachusetts AFL-CIO State Fed, sat down with Jon Keller of WBZ | CBS Boston in the wake of Janus



50%: Rise in American workers who would vote to join a union.

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Remember to purchase your BBQ food and items from Stop & Shop, Shaws and Eastside Marketplace when you are having barbecues this summer.


The Struggle for African American Civil Rights in Rhode Island

When: Wednesday, July 11 @ 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Where: Congdon Street Baptist Church. 17 Congdon Street, Providence Details: Please join the R.I. Black Heritage Society, R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and R.I. Historical Society for a discussion.


17th Annual London/Riley Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament

When: Monday, August 6, 2018 @ 8 a.m. Registration, coffee and pastry; 9 a.m. Shotgun Start, Scramble Format
Where: Cranston Country Club
Details: Come play or sponsor. Pay by July 16th: $125 per person. After July 16th: $140 per person. For more information call (401) 751-5153.





In the first half of this week’s show, Dr. Okurowski from the OEHCRI sits down with Jim Riley to talk about an occupational hazard for anyone that works outdoors but is also a nuisance on a much larger scale for everyone that spends time outside, Lyme Disease. If you see only one show all year, this should be the one you watch. Lyme Disease is nothing to dismiss, it has long-lasting implications and isn’t caught easily; watch and learn what you need to know about this silent neurological disease and take protections for you and your loved ones.
And in the second half of the show, in light of the Janus decision and his op-ed piece run in last Monday’s (7/2) Providence Journal, we’re re-running Frank Flynn’s take on the West Virginia teacher walk-outs when he sat down with Jim Riley earlier this year.