Jobs in jeopardy at legal aid firm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Thirteen paralegals at Rhode Island Legal Services have been told that they'll be out of a job next Wednesday. A two week layoff reprieve negotiated by the paralegals' union has failed to resolve the impasse.

The Service Employees International Union has offered to reduce the pay of Rhode Island Legal Services paralegals by $5,000 to $10,000 a year in exchange for a shorter work week.

But the union's offer has been rejected without so much as a meeting, says union state council director Patrick Quinn. His hopes of averting the layoffs of 13 paralegals next week are evaporating.

"I'm less optimistic than I was just a few days ago but I'm hoping the leadership of the organization - the board and director - understand that this is something that needs to get done and that the union is willing to work with them to achieve it," he says.

Rhode Island Legal Services says the savings offered by the union aren't enough to close their budget gap which has grown worse with the news that funding from the Rhode Island Bar Association will be cut in half.

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