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For  workers and unions, there hasn’t been much to celebrate on Labor Day in recent years. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says things may finally be looking up.

Thanks for stopping by. It's been a long week, so let's get rolling before I fall asleep at my standing desk. Your tips and thoughts remain welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and I invite your attention on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Monday made an urgent plea for lawmakers to reject a bill that would create a 42-hour workweek for firefighters, saying it would drive up overtime costs for cities and towns across Rhode Island. But the head of the city firefighters' union disputes the likely impact, and he blames Elorza for causing the standoff over the legislation.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RINPR

Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the battle between municipalities and fire unions over platoon structures; the formal launch of Lincoln Chafee's presidential campaign; and the outlook for Governor Raimondo's initiative to pay for infrastructure improvements through new tolls on trucks.

John Bender / RIPR

Picket lines will be visible outside the Rhode Island School of Design Thursday because of a labor dispute with some workers. The Technicians Union represents 44 employees, responsible for many of RISD’s famous studios. 

From glass to ceramics and metalworking, Union President Tucker Houlihan said they’re crucial to a RISD education.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new coalition held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to press for an increase in the state’s $2.89 sub-minimum wage. Supporters call this a matter of fairness, since the sub-minimum wage hasn’t changed in 20 years. But the restaurant industry says higher wages would lead to higher food prices.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Tuesday said she'll continue to back a settlement to high-stakes pension litigation "on the right terms to the state."

As state treasurer, Raimondo spearheaded the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system that shaved about $4 billion from the state's long-term obligations., The savings were achieved by raising retirement ages, suspending cost of living adjustments and moving workers from a defined benefit plan to a hybrid defined contribution plan.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

During an appearance Monday at United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 328, Governor Gina Raimondo called on the General Assembly to raise Rhode Island's $9 minimum wage to $10.10, effective in January.

"What we're here today to talk about is a concrete way that we can spark the comeback of Rhode Island and Rhode Island's economy, by putting money in the pockets of hardworking Rhode Islanders," Raimondo said, speaking before a group of union members. "That's what today is about."

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Workers at Rhode Island Hospital have threatened to strike as contract negotiations reach an impasse. A federal mediator has been called in to help broker a deal between the hospital and members of the Teamsters union. The Teamsters represent certified nurses’ assistants and unit assistants, people who help care for patients.

What could a strike mean for patients and employees? Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joins host Dave Fallon to sort through the issues.

Members of the Teamsters union working at Rhode Island Hospital voted Wednesday evening to authorize a strike. Don’t expect to see picket lines immediately.

The vote simply gives union leadership the authority to give the hospital 10 days' notice before striking. But members could walk off the job in a couple of weeks if they don’t reach a new contract deal with hospital management. A federal mediator has been called in, according to hospital officials.

Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is getting ready to leave City Hall after a tumultuous few years. Taveras lost his bid to become governor, but he takes credit for helping to stabilize Providence's finances. The mayor talked about his record and what's next during a wide-ranging exit interview.

The incoming administrations are assembling their staffs (read on), as time ticks down for the Class of 2010. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and tips via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

In a boost for Gina Raimondo as she tries to gain support among union households, two of the most influential labor leaders in the state -- RI AFL-CIO president George Nee and Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island -- on Wednesday expressed their personal support for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

A labor dispute at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence has erupted over the layoff of 16 staff members. The layoffs, and the dispute, turn on the definition of a single word: deliveries.

Members of the Service Employees International Union local 1199 are picketing outside Women and Infants over the hospital’s decision to cut several cleaning, lab, and clinical staff. Union spokesman Patrick Quinn says his members dispute the hospital’s claim that the number of deliveries – and therefore the need for as many staff – has dropped below 8500 over the past year.

The state Labor Relations Board has slated an election for later this month so state-subsidized child care workers can vote on whether they want to join a union. The law allowing the workers to unionize was passed this year by the General Assembly.