Do municipalities need state help with contracts

PROVIDENCE, RI – Warwick and Providence have recently reached new contracts with their municipal unions. But a lobbyist representing cities and towns says they still need more legal help from the state to level the playing field against public sector employees.

The General Assembly this year ignored most of Governor Lincoln Chafee's legislative package to give cities and towns more clout.

But Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns head Daniel Beardsley says Chafee had the right idea. Beardsley says municipalities need tools to force public employees to come to the bargaining table. "Absolutely. There's nothing on the books that requires already retired municipal employees - be they police officers, firefighters, or municipal employees - to form an association to represent their interests."

Beardsley thinks passing Chafee's municipal tools through the General Assembly will remain an uphill battle next year, but it's one worth fighting.

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