Providence Teachers Union


Once again, a Providence mayor is ensnarled in a bitter battle with a city employee union, in this case, the firefighters. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if the capital city should go back to the future with city workers.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi opens up about her tenure in the state’s largest school district, as she prepares to step down. She spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison at the district central office before her departure next week.

While she says she unequivocally believes she has made a difference, Lusi admits that Providence's student test scores leave a lot to be desired.


Today is Columbus Day, the holiday honoring  explorer Christopher Columbus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why it’s the day political calendar signals crunch time in the Providence mayoral race.

As revelers feast on sausage and peppers and celebrate Rhode Island’s storied Italian-American culture  on Federal Hill, the three candidates vying to be the capital city’s mayor will be stumping for votes.

Democrat Jorge Elorza plans to stand in front of Asa Messer Elementary School on Monday to unveil his vision for the city of Providence. His announcement outside the school he once attended comes after the Providence Teachers Union endorsed Independent Buddy Cianci on Saturday in the race for Providence Mayor.

The teachers union says Cianci understands the needs of the district.

Update: The Providence Teachers Union announced its endorsement of Buddy Cianci today. The unions representing firefighters and police have also endorsed Cianci. In once of those grand ironies that limn Rhode Island politics, the police union has endorsed a two-time felon over a judge, Jorge Elorza.

So it looks like Providence mayoral campaign politics reared its head in the negotiations between the union representing public school teachers and the administration of Mayor Angel  Taveras?


Teachers in Providence have voted to reject a new contract that would have done away with the district's "no-layoffs" policy. The agreement to outlaw layoffs followed a major outcry when Providence Mayor Angel Taveras fired all of the district's teachers in 2011, citing a budget crisis. The teachers were later rehired and a contract deal was struck.

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi responded to the union vote rejecting a new three-year contract with the following statement:

Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith is stepping down after about a decade at the helm of the union in the state's largest school district.

Smith tells Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Analyst Scott MacKay he is retiring after more than 30 years in the Providence Public Schools.

Steven Smith, a former state representative and the longtime president of the Providence Teachers Union, is retiring.

Smith says his retirement after 33 years as a teacher and union leader is scheduled to be considered by the Providence School Board at a meeting tomorrow.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the union representing Providence teachers to control  health insurance premiums paid by retired city teachers.

In an opinion authored by Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg, the court upheld a Superior Court decision that ruled that the union’s contract with the Providence School Board allowed the board to charge retired teachers more for health care premiums than active teachers.